Navjeevan Kendra, a drug de-addiction centre, set up at the local civil hospital in 2007 seems to be succeeding in mission of rehabilitating drug addicts, if the response of its in-patients and to its newly-started OPD treatment is anything to go by.
The centre had treated over 3,000 people in six years and has provided help and medical advice to more than 1,000 patients.
From a 15-bed centre, inaugurated by the then Punjab governor general SF Rodrigues it has now expanded to a 22-bed facility.
Run by Red Cross in its initial years, it now takes of its working expenses on its own.
"We charge Rs 3,000 from a patient for a 21-day rehabilitation package, which includes medicines and foods. For those who are really poor and cannot even afford this, we follow a compassionate approach and offer them financial aid," said Dr Sandeep Bhola, the psychiatrist at the centre.
"With the number of patients increasing by the day, we were not able to admit them all. So, we planned, discussed and started the OPD-based treatment. This has been received well. At any given moment, we have 25-30 admitted patients and 40-45 patients taking OPD-based domiciliary treatment."
Patients, mostly below 30, were happy at the treatment offered and the facilities. "I was free after doing my 10+2. One of my friends introduced me to the drugs and since that day, my life has been hell. My family brought me here 15 days ago and I am happy to be feeling better," said a 21-year-old Nurpur Chatha resident.
A 28-year-old shopkeeper from Makhu in Ferozepur has been at the centre for 42 days as doctors are not happy with this progress.
"We do not charge any extra money from patients, who have to overstay the 21-day rehabilitation treatment package. Our aim is to treat the patient," said Balwinder Singh, the manager.
"Most patients are discharged after 21 days. Medicines are prescribed and the necessary instructions are given to the family, including weekly follow-ups. In case the patient does not come for 2-3 consecutive weeks, his family members are called to know his status."
Dr Bhola added, "Things in the outside the world are not in our control. Sometimes, relapse does occur. However, a complete rehabilitation package is prescribed and in most cases it does work."
Kapurthala deputy commissioner Dajit Singh Mangat, vested with the overall control of the centre, said "Seeing the centre's success and listening to the experiences of the patients treated here, we have decided to shift to a new building. The centre has sanctioned Rs 58 lakh for the construction of its building. This centre will soon serve as a model for others to follow."