The 50-bed drug rehabilitation centre in Sector 66, SAS Nagar, which has 16 inmates, does not have any recreational facilities, with the health department citing low occupancy for this.
The centre, built at a cost of Rs 3 crore, was inaugurated with much fanfare by the then Punjab health and family welfare minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani in February 2016. The inmates do not have access to newspapers, magazines or even television. Though a television set is available at the centre but they have not got a recharge done for the connection as a result of which it is lying idle. The TV set was brought from the civil hospital, Phase 6, SAS Nagar
NO FACILITY FOR BLOOD TESTS
Moreover, there is no facility for conducting blood tests before a patient is admitted to the rehabilitation centre. The patients are sent to the civil hospital to get the test done and many a times a lot of patients do not even return.
Nearly 250 patients, generally aged between 16 and 40, visit the centre’s OPD (outpatient department centre) every month. Moreover, there is no publicity about the facility so that more people knoww about it.
Even the civil hospital has no information about the centre. The centre has enough open area but there is wild overgrowth on the compound. The mess provides tea only once in a day and three meals. An inmate pays Rs 100 a day. There are two ward boys, a doctor, a psychiatrist, a nurse and a security personnel at a given point of time.
YOUNGSTERS HOOKED TO HEROIN
Sources said most of the drug addicts who visit the centre are youngsters who are addicted to heroin. Many patients started taking drugs in the company of their friends. The youngest addict treated at the centre was nine-year-old boy. The family of a 36-year-old alcoholic admitted to centre for the last four months has not visited him due to strained relations.
“We have all the facilities but since occupancy at the rehabilitation centre is low, recreational activities have not been started. We are now training our staff to motivate people to get drug addicts admitted to the centre. Most of the people visiting the centre do not want to get admitted,” said Dr Jai Singh, civil surgeon, SAS Nagar.
“There is a need to create awareness among residents to get the addicts admitted to the centre for rehabilitation. We are holding seminars and awareness workshops to get people to the centre which has been constructed for their welfare,” the civil surgeon said.