Punjab police
Punjab policeReuters

Twelve candidates failed the drug test during the ongoing Punjab police recruitment drive in Punjab Agricultural University on Tuesday, taking the total number of people who tested positive to 47.

Out of 600 candidates who were called by the authorities, only 495 appeared for the test. Out of this, 162 candidates have qualified whereas 333 were disqualified for various reasons, according to a Times of India report.

The candidates opting out of dope test, according to the Tribune, might be due to fears that the examinations may invade their "drug addiction privacy".

The Punjab Police has tightened the rules in terms of dope test in the recruitment drive by first sending the samples to Government Medical College and later to drug de-addiction centre.

"The candidates are being asked to get their test done at a government hospital and later get approval from the drug de-addiction centre. If the test was positive due to medication, candidates will be given another chance after September 11," a senior official was quoted by the TOI as saying.

In the past few decades, the pattern of drug addiction among people in Punjab has seen a wide change with the addicts turning to pharma drugs and heroin when the government cracked down on opium cultivation.

Currently 53 percent of the drug addicts in Punjab use heroin. This is followed by opium (33 percent) and medicines (14 percent).This sizeable drug problem costs the state a whopping Rs 7,500 crore, according to Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey, which was conducted by the union ministry of social welfare in conjunction with the Punjab government.

There are currently 2.3 lakh drugs-dependent people in the state, while nearly 8.6 lakh use opioid drugs.