August 28, 2016 3:57:34 pm
In a major step towards ramping up deaddiction facilities, government hospitals in the national capital may soon have out-patient departments (OPD) dedicated to treat drug and liquor addicts. This, along with deployment of mobile units to reach junkies at Inter-state Bus Terminuses (ISBTs) and railway stations, are some of the issues being worked upon by a panel formed by the Delhi government on drug addiction.
It is learnt that the committee has concluded that separate OPD facilities for drug and liquor addicts were needed in the medium term, while also focusing on strengthening the in-patients facilities. “In many cases you don’t need specialists. Their role comes later. Even doctors with MBBS degrees can deal with them as many of these addicts don’t need to be admitted. In any case, the hospitals are bursting at the seams,” an official said.
As the possibility of addicts volunteering to avail of such facilities is very little, the panel has recommended a project-oriented approach, as part of which selected pockets will be targeted by NGOs. People who have successfully overcome addiction themselves will be used to build rapport with the addicts and encourage them to go for detoxication sessions, sources said.
“ISBTs and rail stations have a large number of addicts who are often seen using syringes. Now it will be difficult to bring them out of the grip of drugs immediately but mobile units will go around and talk to them, distribute detox medicines to make them realize the importance of treatment,” sources said.
The steps are expected to come in handy for the government at a time when it has been targeted by BJP and Swaraj Abhiyan for granting a large number of liquor shop licenses.
AAP has repeatedly targeted the BJP-SAD alliance in Punjab over its “failure” to handle the widespread use of drugs, especially among the youth, and has made it a major poll issue. Punjab goes to polls early next year. The four-member panel comprising Alok Agrawal of AIIMS, Rajesh Kumar of NGO SPYM and the Principal Secretaries of Health and Social Welfare Departments is expected to submit its report soon.
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