After witnessing an increasing number of injectable-drug patients who want to quit the habit, the civil hospital is set to come up with the opioid substitution therapy (OST) project of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) soon.
At present, the hospital is running a methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) project on pilot-project basis for injectable drug users in association with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
MMT was started by UNODC in 2012 in Bathinda, Kapurthala, Delhi, Mumbai and Imphal. Under this, patients are cured by giving them dose of methadone in liquid form daily.
Due to limited stock of methadone, only a limited number of patients are able to get benefit of the treatment.
The buprenorphine tablet and methadone liquid doses need to be given only by the doctor at the hospital.
“Once we start the OST project, we will be able to cure all the patients by giving them a daily dose of buprenorphine tablet,” Dr Sandeep Bhola, psychiatrist at the civil hospital, said.
He said more than 200 patients have registered with the MMT project since 2012 and around 150 patients have been cured by the daily methadone dose. Around 80 patients are coming daily to avail the treatment.
“As MMT was on pilot-project basis, we always have a limited stock of methadone dose as a result of which several patients have to return empty-handed from here,”Dr Bhola added.
He said the OST project will be started by the end of this month at the hospital and injectable drug users can avail free treatment.
Meanwhile, NACO’s OST project is already being run successfully in 17 other districts with Tarn Taran doing very well.