A free dose of buprenorphine given under the opioid substitution theory (OST), a project started by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to rehabilitate the injectable drug users (IDU), has become a substitute dope for the addicts.
Buprenorphine is an opioid and said to be more potent than opium.
Most of the beneficiaries here, after getting a free dose of the drug, spit it from their mouth and preserve it to reuse later. “Some even sell the spitted drug to other addicts at the cost of Rs 100 to Rs 150 per dose,” said a daily benefactor, on condition of anonymity.
In a sting operation carried out by the Hindustan Times, one of the benefactor was caught in a video (with HT) spitting the drug and preserving it.
When asked about the reason of spitting the drug, introducing himself as Sukha (name changed) of Moga, he said that he is a regular user of the drug that last for four years and is now addicted to it.
“I feel like dying when I don’t consume the drug. A single dose works only for a few hours after which my rupturing body demands another dose, due to which I preserve half of the drug dose to consume it in the evening,” he said.
As per rules, the dose has to be administered under the supervision of a doctor or a staff nurse and the benefactor has to sit there till he swallows the drug properly.
“With the number of patients being too much, it is not possible for a staff nurse to wait for the patient to swallow the drug,” said the official.
As per information, the opioid substitution theory that was started in October 2011 in Moga civil hospital has more than 300 patients who come daily to get administered with the buprenorphine dose.
In a span of five years, mere 20 patients have discarded the treatment, not because they got cured, but due to unknown reasons.
Sources said that from total number of people registered, hardly 10 persons are the ID users, others are bogus beneficiaries who come here just to get free dope.
Narinder Singh, chief medical officer (CMO) in Moga, said that he had also heard about these activities and will deploy guards to keep a vigil on all the beneficiaries.
“Strict action will be initiated if anybody is found doing this kind of wrong activities,” said the chief medical officer.