Punjab’s first women drug rehabilitation centre to be run by an all-women team | punjab$amritsar | Hindustan Times
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Punjab’s first women drug rehabilitation centre to be run by an all-women team

Punjab health and family welfare principal secretary Vini Mahajan inaugurated the state’s first drug rehabilitation centre for women in Amritsar on Sunday. This drug rehab centre is the first in the region to have a comprehensive women integrated treatment (WIT), which will involve families of woman addicts.

punjab Updated: May 23, 2016 14:45 IST
Usmeet Kaur
Punjab health and family welfare principal secretary Vini Mahajan inaugurating the state’s first drug rehabilitation centre for women in Amritsar on Sunday.
Punjab health and family welfare principal secretary Vini Mahajan inaugurating the state’s first drug rehabilitation centre for women in Amritsar on Sunday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Punjab health and family welfare principal secretary Vini Mahajan inaugurated the state’s first drug rehabilitation centre for women in Amritsar on Sunday. This drug rehab centre is the first in the region to have a comprehensive women integrated treatment (WIT), which will involve families of woman addicts.

Calling it a “good initiative by Dr JPS Bhatia”, Mahajan talked about the problem of drug addiction in Punjab and said, “It is unfair to tell the exact percentage of population affected by drugs till there is scientific evidence and study to support how grave the problem is and what percentage is being affected.”

“Drug addiction is a problem that plagues not only Punjab, but other parts of our nation as well as other countries too. But Punjab being a border state is more vulnerable to the drug problem because of rampant smuggling. Without a scientific study and evidence, it is difficult to measure exactly how many people are affected,” says Mahajan.

“Taking steps towards curbing the problem, the state government has requested an epidemiological study in which experts from PGI and other institutions would be involved to help assess how grave the problem is,” she added.

State-run rehab centre facility a novel initiative: Mahajan

On being asked about the decreasing number of patients at the government-run de-addiction centres and the failure of Punjab’s first rehab centre to attract patients, Mahajan said, “Punjab government has started with a scheme under which de-addiction centres have been opened in five prominent medical colleges in Punjab. Various districts will also be equipped with rehab centres. This rehab centre is new. As a government-run rehab facility, we cannot force addicts to get them admitted here, but we would be spreading more awareness regarding this so that addicts get to know about the facility. Also, the government has now reduced the per-day fee from Rs 200 to Rs 50 for rehab centres,” she says.

Talking about women addiction, she says, “It does prevail although the degree of addiction is more in males. Women addiction is still a stigma, but they should come forward to get themselves treated.”

30 volunteers to boost operations at facility

This rehab centre has been established as separate wing of the already-running family rehab home ‘Hermitage’ and would become a residence for women along with their families. The arrangement is for 25 patients and they would be charged according to their addiction levels.

The USP of the program is that besides doctors, therapists, and counsellors, there is a dedicated team of nearly 30 women who have themselves fought addiction. Themselves being a victim of addiction, they offer unparalleled devotion and contribution to the effort of doctor Bhatia.

Doctor Bhatia has an experience of more than two decades in the field of de-addiction. At the inauguration of the centre, he said, “Drug addiction is not a political issue. Rather, it is a grave problem which needs to be addressed dedicatedly. Women addiction is also a shrouded reality which needs to be cured. Women respond differently to addiction; biologically, psychologically and socially, therefore there is a need for gender-specific and responsive treatment. Denial of recognising this fact would be an injustice.”