CM, Fed Narcotics Control Minister inaugurate Shaheed Benazir treatment, rehabilitaion centre

KARACHI:Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Narcotics Control, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti formally inaugurated Benazir Shaheed Model Addicts Treatment & Rehabilitation Centre (MATRC) Manghopir here on Tuesday.

The MATRC is a state-of-the-art facility established by the provincial government with the help of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Narcotics Control, and other national and international partners.

The ceremony was attended by provincial ministers, industrialists, Provincial Ministers, ANF DG, and others.

Federal Minister for Narcotic Control Shahzain Bugti said that there was a dire need to work in close coordination with all the provincial governments so that the drug menace could be eliminated.

He said that earlier, in some areas people were using drugs but now it has become accessible to the school children and affecting them badly.

The federal minister said that Arabic and Chinese languages would be taught to the drug addicts being rehabilitated here at the Center so that they could be provided jobs.

He emphasized the need for working in jails where drugs were being paddled and used.

Shahzain Bugti thanked the chief minister and his party leadership for supporting him for the cause.

The Chief Minister thanked the Federal Minister for Narcotics Control for his presence and participation in the program to discuss the current situation of drugs in the province and other related matters.

“This is a vital issue that affects the lives and well-being of millions of people in our province and country,” the CM said adding that this needed to be addressed jointly by the provincial and federal governments so that the menace could be averted.

The Chief Minister said that the MATRC aimed at providing quality and comprehensive services for the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration of drug users and their families.

“The MATRC has a capacity of 60 beds and offers free treatment & rehabilitation for drug abusers, providing detoxification, food, boarding, counseling, vocational training, and aftercare services to drug addicts,” he said and added the MATRC would also conduct awareness campaigns, research studies, and capacity building programs for drug demand reduction.

According to the CM, the MATRC is also a testament to our commitment and resolve to provide humane and dignified care to drug users and their families. “The MATRC is not only a hospital but also a home for those who seek help and hope for a better future,” he announced.

Murad Shah said that Sindh was one of the most affected regions by the drug problem in Pakistan.

According to the National Drug Use Survey 2022, the overall results of the survey revealed that approximately 6 percent of the population – 9 percent of the adult male and 2.9 percent of the adult female population – equivalent to 6.7 million people – had used a substance other than alcohol and tobacco in the preceding years, the CM said and added the most used drugs are cannabis, heroin, opium, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs.

Mr. Shah said that The drug problem in Sindh was also linked to various social, economic, health, and security issues, such as poverty, unemployment, crime, violence, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, mental disorders, and human trafficking.

He said that the Sindh government, with the spirit to enhance the counter-narcotics capability/capacity of the Excise dept, was in the phase of establishing a dedicated Narcotics Control Wing.

The CM said that we need to strengthen our prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and harm reduction services for drug users and their families. He also emphasized the need to promote alternative livelihoods and development opportunities for the vulnerable and marginalized groups affected by the drug economy.

He also appreciated Federal Minister Shahzain Bugti for his efforts to enhance the coordination and cooperation among the federal and provincial authorities and agencies on drug-related matters.

Those who spoke on the occasion include STEVTA Chairman Saleem Jalbani and Force Commander ANF Brig Waqar.