Jammu: Offering a ray of hope to drug addicted youth, the police drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centre in Jammu has helped cure 94 per cent of the nearly 7,000 persons since it started operations four years ago.
The centre, initially with staff strength of six, was set up as a counselling centre in April 2013 to help drug addicts overcome the problem and has now turned into a full-fledged round-the-clock 20 bedded hospital.
Dozens of youth and their family members were present at the centre on Saturday as part of an interaction programme with Director General of state Police S P Vaid, who advised them to remain steadfast in their resolve to give up drugs for their own good and the society.
Funded by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under civil action programme, the centre has attended to 6,976 patients in outpatient department till date, of whom 279 including 38 police personnel availed indoor facility which was started in December 2016, in-charge of the Centre, Gurmeet Kour said.
The doctor, Gurmeet Kour, a de-addiction expert, said 219 of the indoor patients were addicted to poly drug abuse like heroin, while 59 were alcoholics.
She said 56 patients left against medical advice and 17 others discharged on request but only 12 cases of relapse were reported since December 2016.
"The recovery rate of the centre is 94 per cent, which is a big achievement. It is the direct result of coordinated efforts and the support of police department,” Kour, who is heading a 19-member staff including yoga and meditation experts, said.
Superintendent of Police, headquarters, R C Kotwal said there are four types of drug abusers in Jammu and its peripheries with heroin users marking a steady increase over the past couple of years which is "most dangerous".
The first category is of those who are using prescribed drugs like capsules, tablets, injections and cough syrups and mostly transporters are involved in it, he said adding charas and ganja, which is smuggled from Chattisgarh, Odisha and parts of south Kashmir, are the most common.
"Police have recorded a remarkable achievement in their drive against drug peddlers and seized the biggest haul of heroin in 2017, worth crores of rupees in the international market.
"The seizures and arrest are encouraging for the police, but the increased smuggling of heroin is also a warning sign for the days to come, Kotwal said.
He said one gram of heroin, locally called "chitta", is costlier than gold. It is valued between Rs 4000 and Rs 6000 per gram.
A 26-year-old youth, who is running a shop in the city, said he fell in the trap of drug traffickers two years back and became addicted to heroin.
"I suffered huge losses...Two years back I decided to quit it and visited the drug de-addiction centre where I recovered fully," the businessman said.
He said he is getting married in February 2018 and looking forward to live a normal life. Initially, the craving for heroin was high...Now I am normal,” he said, adding he had made a mistake in the past and would never repeat it again.
A woman, who has been accompanying her son to the centre, said, “I am very thankful to the doctors who saved the life of my only son".
Kour said, “a large chunk of population was suffering from drug addiction making it a very serious issue. Parents need to keep a close watch on their wards to ensure that they do not fell prey to the menace which is growing alarmingly,” she said and asked the victims to come forward, assuring all possible help at the drug de-addiction centre.
The doctor said she along with her team is visiting different districts, educational institutions and public gatherings including religious places as part of an awareness campaign.
She said most people do not come forward because of shame and despair and stay aloof. "It is just a disease and after appropriate treatment, a drug addict is bound to recover fully,” Kour said.
After running OPD and day care successfully, she said a dire need for indoor facility was felt and on December 26, 2016 the first patient - a policeman - with severe alcohol addiction was admitted in the hospital setting the trend for inpatient treatment at the facility.
He was kept in the hospital along with his wife and gradually he recovered, she said. The doctor said addicts should not be discriminated against but embraced, treated and rehabilitated.
Lauding the centre for its outstanding work, the police chief said the department was planning to open a de-addiction centres in all districts of state so that drug de-addiction services are easily available and accessible to people particularly those living in far off places.
Thanking the government for providing land for drug de-addiction centre at Srinagar, Vaid appealed it to provide land in Jammu and in districts to enhance the capacity to fight the menace in the state.
While interacting with patients, the DGP advised them to take full use of facilities provided at the centre....