Doctors, quacks move in for kill as junkies go cold turkey

  • Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Jun 27, 2014 10:31 IST

With the Punjab government taking steps to check the menace of drug peddling followed by de-addiction and rehabilitation of addicts, some doctors and quacks have grabbed the opportunity to make profits. Thanks to the government not framing any policy to check dispensing of de-addiction medicines by the private practitioners.

District administration along with the rehabilitation centres and NGOs observed June 26 as World Drug De-Addiction Day where addicts were advised to give up drugs for good in addition to their families being counselled on ways to tackle tricky situations.

According to the data collected by the district administration, following drives by police across the city and in peripheral villages, as many as 3,173 addicts have got themselves registered with various hospitals and deaddiction centres since June 19, thereby volunteering for the deaddiction programmes.

The report also says that 81 addicts have already gone back to their homes after getting deaddicted. But the million dollar question remains whether or not these addicts will have relapses. In absence of any programme to keep a check on their future relapses, there is no knowing.

The entire efforts also stands defeated as one takes a look at the recent malpractice wherein some MBBS doctors, psychiatrists and a large number of quacks have started making money by dispensing “drugs” used for de-addiction of the addicts. These specialists and quacks are blatantly selling a single tablet of “Buponorphine” for Rs 30 to Rs 50, while its retail price is not more than Rs 10.

It is also learnt that following the stringent action by police, the addicts of smack, heroin and cocaine have registered themselves for detoxification. At the same time, they are going to private practitioners, getting prescriptions for detoxification medicine to procure number of doses from different drug stores.

Sharing the concern over the practice, which has become alarming, some city psychiatrists and counsellors stated that the state government should incorporate stringent rules for “dispensing” of de-addiction drugs

Dr Shakti Kumar Prabhakar, a noted city psychiatrist said, “I have worked in de-addiction and rehabilitation centre in UK for almost three decades, where screening was done keeping in mind the source of referral, history of the addict through urine sample before prescribing the drug.

Most important being rehabilitation so as to ensure that they remain drug free followed by proper logs of the addicts as this is what is required to make the ongoing drive successful.”

Counselling and Rehabilitation the right answer

Amanjeet Singh, owner of NGO Growth Foundation running a counselling and rehabilitation centre and president, Punjab State Drug Counselling and Rehabilitation Centres Union, appreciated the move made by the state government to tackle the problem of drugs in Punjab.

At the sametime, he expressed concern as he referred to the recent meeting called by the Ludhiana civil surgeon, Dr Subhash Batta, wherein a large number of doctors shared instances of addicts abusing the de-addiction drugs.

“This evil should be nipped in the bud as it can sabotage the drive initiated by the government.

More counselling and rehabilitation centres in addition to dispensing of drugs only at authorised centres are the right ways to tackle the problem,” Amanjeet Singh shared.

Deputy Commissioner Rajat Agarwal agreed to the problem of some psychiatrists and quacks misusing the de-addiction drug for their personal gains, adding that they were on the radar of the government.

“None involved in such practices will be spared and we have appealed to the public also to share such information with us. Civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta is already working towards the formation of a foolproof system for administering the de-addiction medicines and we are hopeful of streamlining it in the coming weeks,” the deputy commissioner added.

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