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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Punjab's de-addiction centres or torture chambers?

Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 11, 2014
First Published: 08:35 IST(11/5/2014) | Last Updated: 10:01 IST(11/5/2014)

Many patients under treatment in the drug de-addiction centres (DDCs) of Punjab get a regular dose of verbal and physical abuse. The fact came to light in a study of 10 of these centres (private as well as government) across the state.

The findings appear in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research published in New Delhi.

The department of community medicine at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, and the psychiatry department of Government Medical College, Patiala, did the research.

The interviews with 120 patients reveal how torture and harassment are as regular as the medical services are irregular.

The study includes 15 Indian Red Cross Society centres but the level of dissatisfaction is higher in the private facili-ties, where 43% of the patients confirmed that the members of the staff abused and harassed them.

At the government-run places, the figure was 30%. Of the private-centre patients, 80% won’t recommend the indoor services to others, since they were forced to sleep on the ground and 40% didn’t get complete treatment.

Of the 2,415 patients whose records are available, 58.5% got cured, 24.2% relapsed, and 17.2% dropped out.

Only for the Red Cross discharged patients, there were home visits by counsellors. The inmates in the drug de-addiction centres received no vocational rehabilitation at any of the centres.

The study recommends regular inspection of all drug de-addiction centres, besides government support to the private facilities.

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