VISAKHAPATNAM: With more number of youngsters getting addicted to drugs, there is a strong need for a de-addiction facility in the city. After a drug racket was busted during a rave party in Rushikonda Beach, it has become evident that several youth are involved in substance abuse.
Recently, two Engineering students were arrested from Peda Gantyada area for alleged involvement in 52 chain-snatching cases. During the investigation, they informed that addiction to illicit drugs was a reason for all their crimes. The number of persons addicted to drugs and alcohol has been rising every year in the city.
The parents of such youngsters are knocking the doors of private de-addiction centres and pouring in huge sums of money to bring them out of drug abuse.
Unscrupulous doctors are cashing in on the weakness of thousands of addicts. They are reportedly looting the patients and their family members by charging heavily per session of de-addiction treatment.
According to Dr. S. Radha Rani, Professor of Psychiatry and Superintendent of the Government Hospital of Mental Care (GHMC), the government has initiated Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) under AP state AIDS Control Society for the treatment of drug addicts with a substitute called – Buprenorphine.
“This therapy will be available at the GHMC in a couple of months. This initiative offers treatment to people who are addicted to opioids (drugs such as heroin) through an alternative medicine, free of cost. As injected drug abuse is linked with HIV infection, the OST is also effective in reducing the risk of public health problems in the society,” she said.
OST, as an HIV prevention strategy, was initiated in North Indian states such as Punjab and Delhi in 2007. However, it was not implemented in South India to a larger extent due to limited drug abuse. After a decry of some NGOs, the GHMC was roped in for providing OST services through a collaborative public health model.
It was supposed to begin the therapy in Vizag by July 1.
However, an RTI activist had filed a complaint against the recruitment of the team.
The state health secretary has proposed a committee to recruit a five-member team, including a medical officer, a staff nurse and counsellor under the supervision of additional district health and medical officer.
Clearing these obstacles, the GHMC is hopeful to bring in OST services by October. Drug seeking behaviour is the main crux of turning into anti-social elements.
This therapy will help the intravenous drug users to stay away from the substance by taking a medicine only once in a week. With a low dosage, drug craving comes down within three to four months....