Following the HT report on how a free dose of ‘buprenorphine’ given under the opioid substitution theory (OST) has become a substitute dope for the addicts, the health authorities have deleted the name of the man, who was caught in the video spitting and preserving the dose, from the beneficiary list under the OST.
Buprenorphine is an opioid and said to be more potent than opium. On Wednesday, the HT had carried out a sting operation and caught a man 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 for the past four years and is now addicted to it.
“I feel like dying when I don’t take 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.
Sources said that most of the beneficiaries here, after getting a free dose of the drug, spit it out from their mouth and preserve it to reuse later.
“Some even sell the spitted drug to other addicts at a cost of Rs 100 to Rs 150 per dose,” said a daily beneficiary, on the condition of anonymity.
“We have immediately expelled the beneficiary caught in the video,” Arvinder Singh Gill, a senior medical officer said.
A project, which was started here in the civil hospital in October 2011 by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) with a view to rehabilitate the injectable drug users (IDU), has more than 300 patients who come daily to get administered with the ‘buprenorphine’ dose. Worse, in a span of five years, mere 20 patients have discarded the treatment, not because they got cured, but due to unknown reasons.
As per rules, the dose has to be administered under the supervision of a doctor or a staff nurse and the beneficiary 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.
INELIGIBLE BENEFICIARIES TO BE WEEDED OUT
Sources said that of a total number of people registered, hardly 10 are ID users, others are bogus beneficiaries, who come here just to get free dope.
Narinder Singh, chief medical officer (CMO), said that under the supervision of a psychiatrist they will carry out a scrutiny to weed out the bogus or ineligible beneficiaries to avoid such wrong activities.
“We will also ask the staff to make the beneficiary sit till he swallows the dose completely and guards will be deployed to keep a vigil on the beneficiaries,” he said.