Recent data of the district general hospital points at a grim picture of rising substance abuse among the younger generation.
"The number of addicts and patients seeking de-addiction is increasing at a fast pace. In the drug de-addiction centre of general hospital here, the outdoor patients' average number has reached 80 per month against 20 last year," said Dr Ashok Chaudhry, civil surgeon, while talking to media persons here on Tuesday.
But, awareness campaigns and free camps organised by the hospital had yielded encouraging results with most of the addicts being admitted here for de-addiction, he said.
On addiction, he said: "People resort to drugs to get momentary relief from tension and stress, but soon get habituated to it."
About the hospital, Dr Chaudhry said: "Recently, a team of lawyers nominated by the Punjab and Haryana high court had visited this centre to inspect the facilities and treatment being provided to patients. It is heartening to announce that this centre was adjudged the best in Punjab and Haryana."
Talking about the staff, he said: "We have a highly qualified psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social counsellor in this centre. Ten beds have been reserved for serious patients."
Dr VK Dudi, a psychiatrist, said: "It is painful to know that teenagers are consuming products such as corex, codeine and phensydril for illusory elation and a high."
About patients undergoing treatment at the hospital, he said: "Our success rate is between 40-70%, if followed properly. 20-30% cases relapse due to poor follow-up by the families of the addicts. We approach people in villages to make them aware of free camps organised by the hospital. Motivation, persuasion and treatment at the centre helps an addict lead a normal life again."
Dr Dudi warns people against using sedatives and anti-anxiety tablets which are not prescribed by a qualified doctor. He said: "People start consuming such tablets to fight insomnia but end up being an addict. They should be taken strictly under a doctor's supervision."
Reeta Pal, a psychologist, expressed concern over more and more youths consuming liquor. She cautioned parents and teachers to keep a close eye on youths and not ignore stress-related problems.