Soon, rural dispensaries to provide de-addiction drug buprenorphineUpdated: Sep 30, 2019 01:14 IST
BLURB: Concerned over increasing number of addicts registered with OOAT centres leaving medication midway, govt plans to make these dispensaries part of de-addiction drive
With the increasing number of drug addicts registered with the outpatient opiod assistant treatment (OOAT) centres leaving their medication midway, the Punjab government has decided to make available buprenorphine, a de-addiction medicine, at the dispensaries run by the rural and panchayti raj department.
As per the plan, the staff at these dispensaries will work as village-level centres as part of the de-addiction programme and their staff will distribute buprenorphine doses to the addicts registered with the government for treatment.
A senior government official claimed that the government has decided to rope in these dispensaries keeping in mind the increasing in drop-out rate at the OOAT clinics.
“Since the OOAT centres are located at the district, tehsil or block level, addicts fail to get their daily dose of buprenorphine, the patients find it tough to travelling there daily and often leave the treatment midway,” the official said.
The Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had set up the OOAT centres where buprenorphine is given to addicts who don’t need hospitalisation for free. There are around 180 OOAT centres in Punjab.
The government has mooted the proposal to engage 1,186 dispensaries in the de-addition campaign.
An official involved in the de-addiction campaign said the staff of these dispensaries will be trained before involving them in the programme.
At present, a rural dispensary has a doctor, a pharmacist and a Class 4 employee. The rural department is also planning to recruit more doctors to fill 450 vacancies in these dispensaries, it is learnt.
Last week, the state’s anti-drug special task force (STF) chief had written to the deputy commissioners asking them to give details about the availability of facilities, staff and doctors in these dispensaries.
He had cited a decision taken in a high-level meeting of the state government saying the existing OOAT clinics do not provide sufficient services to drug dependents and there was the need to increase their penetration.
State president of the Rural Doctors Association Dr Aslam Parvez welcomed the government’s plan to involve them in the de-addiction drive.
“Rural medicos are experienced and trained persons and they are capable of treating the addict as well in far-off areas as well,” he said.
First Published: Sep 30, 2019 01:14 IST