Focus to remain on opening drug de-addiction centers, rehabilitating addicts
The authorities unveiled the drug de-addiction policy under which they promise to fight addiction by opening de-addiction centers and rehabilitating the addicts.
Earlier the policy was approved by the State Administrative Council (SAC) in January this year and it focuses on “integration and rehabilitation” of drug addicts.
The policy document for drug de-addiction was released by Principal Secretary of Health and Medical Education (H&ME) department, Atal Dulloo, at GMC Srinagar in presence of senior health officials and doctors across the state.
“In response to the drug menace, we decided to have a policy for drug de-addiction. The draft was published in October 2018 and we got advice from experts. Later the SAC approved it in January this year,” he said.
The policy was reviewed by experts from premier healthcare institutions like AIIMS, PGI, NIMHANS, TISS, Directorate of Health Services, Government of India, and also opinions were received from civil society groups and public in the state.
Dulloo said the drug de-addiction policy is the second such document in India saying that Punjab is the other state which has such policy.
“Our policy is better than Punjab. Our policy is based on four principles: prevention, integration, community participation and integral sectoral participation,” he said.
Dullo said that he was happy that the first-ever drug de-addiction policy, prepared by the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS) GMC Srinagar, has been chosen for poster presentation at Royal College of Psychiatry (RCP) London for this year's International Congress in July.
“We are involving a large number of stakeholders who have a role to curb drug menace. We are looking at social, legal aspects of the problem,” he said.
He said that they have been able to prepare guidelines for new de-addiction centers saying that such centers had been coming up without proper procedure and had not been achieving much.
Dulloo hailed the IMHANS for their role in treating such patients adding that it has been holding awareness programs for doctors of peripheral hospitals, teachers and schools.
“Others also like Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), State Aids Control Society, etc had been playing their roe to end drug abuse,” he said.
The health department is also implementing targeted intervention projects for intravenous drug abusers including initiatives for high risk patients which include fees of cost lab facilities.
Talking about monitoring mechanism of the policy, Dulloo said there will be a state-level committee chaired by the Chief Secretary and will have Administrative Secretary of the health department as the Vice-Chairman.
He said the Food and Drug Control Organization has also been doing their bit saying that it had conducted 11000 inspections including 6000 in Kashmir only.
Dulloo said the Excise and Taxation Department has destroyed 8600 kanals of cannabis cultivation and has been conducting awareness programs for farmers
The health department has also proposed to establish drug-de-addiction centers in five new medical colleges and at SKIMS Medical College and Hospital (MCH) Bemina, Srinagar.
Principal GMC Srinagar, Dr Kaisar Ahmad, said that drug addiction is a silent epidemic and there has been a steep rise in the cases of drug abusers in past few decades.
“The problem is reflected in emergency rooms with youth facing cardiac arrest and renal failure,” he said.
Head of the department of psychiatry, GMC Srinagar, Dr Mohammad Maqbool, said the IMHANS Srinagar has successfully treated 12000 patients indulging in substance abuse.