Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research’s drug de-addiction centre held a talk for patients and their families to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking of Drugs on Thursday.
Themed ‘family as caregivers’ the event saw department of psychiatry professor Dr D Basu as one of the keynote speakers.
Speaking about the stigmatisation faced by those with the drug problem, he said that neither shunning them nor pretending that the problem does not exist would solve the issue.
Stating that both these actions by problems would, instead, only serve to negatively impact those recovering from the problem, he said that In India, unlike western countries, families continue to play a vital role in the lives of individuals and therefore, their care could either ‘make or break an individual in rehabilitation.
The session also saw a talk on how Punjab was slowly waking up to the dire consequences of its rampant drug problem.
He said that an increase in vigil and increase in action taken against suppliers of illegal drugs have resulted in more people seeking help at de-addiction centres.
The problem that the country faces, he said, is that lack of government-run rehabilitation centres, which is where a person recovering from the problem is taken after his treatment in deaddiction centres.
“Rehab centres try to change the attitude of the person to ensure he does not go back to the path that landed him at the de-addiction centre in the first place. However, India does not have a single government-run rehabilitation centre.
There are some privately-run centres, but they are very expensive,” he said. It could take up to six months to fully rehabilitate a recovering addict.
Dr Basu had a three level message for the public: to young adults who have never indulged in these activities, he said they must remain that way.
To those who experimented with drugs from time to time but were not habitual users, he said that they must be careful.
To those who were addicted, he said there was hope.
“There are doctors who bring you out of your plight. They must seek help,” he said, adding that families must play a proactive role in bringing cases of addiction forth.
“Drug users should be provided a nurturing and positive environment where they aren’t judged. The taboo associated with the problem must be done away with so as to help those in need,” he said.