Govt-run OOAT centres in Tarn Taran battle shortage of medicinesUpdated: Sep 13, 2019 00:57 IST
The government-run outpatient opioid assisted treatment (OOAT) centres in Tarn Taran district have been running out of stock of the medicines required for treating drug dependents.
As per the administration, more than 20,000 patients are getting treatment in government and private drug de-addiction centres of Tarn Taran, which is the worst drug-hit district of Punjab.
There are 10 OOAT centres in the district and most of them do not have medicines. According to the norms, stock of medicines of at least two months should be available with these centres.
“For last few days, we have been facing severe shortage of medicines and it is causing problems of all sorts. We send our staff to Tarn Taran civil hospital to fetch medicines. The hospital is also seven kms from our centre,” said Dr Paramvir Singh Sidhu, medical officer (MO) of Tharu OOAT centre.
“More than 600 patients come to us daily for taking medicines. On Thursday, 20 patients had to return empty-handed as our stock of medicines had exhausted,” he added.
MO of Gharyala OOAT centre, Dr JS Gill, who is also senior medical officer (SMO) of Gharyala hospital, said, “On Thursday, around 30 patients had to return without medicines as there was no medicine left with us. We have been facing the shortage for the last few days.”
“I have been taking medicine daily from Tharu village’s OOAT centre. Today (Thursday), I waited in the queue for at least two hours before doctors there announced that there was no medicine with the centre. It is very difficult for me keep myself stable without the medicine. I belong to a poor family and cannot afford medicine from private centres. I am eager to quit the habit, but the government should at least maintain adequate supply of medicine at the OOAT centre,” said a 26-year-old heroin-addict patient.
An MO of an OOAT centre in Tarn Taran on condition of anonymity said, “We have written to our senior officials on Monday about the shortage of medicine—Vernor N 2.5mg having salt buprenorphine and nalaxone—but to no avail. 11,000-odd patients are currently being treated in the district’s OOAT centers and nearly 4,000 are taking daily dose.”
He said, “There is a Verka Stock in Amritsar which supplies the medicine to the OOAT centres of around 10 districts. We have learnt that medicine are not coming at the Verka Stock. Though we have been managing by arranging medicine from opioid substitution treatment (OST) centres of the district, but the medicine is not adequate there as well.”
Tarn Taran civil surgeon (CS) Dr Anoop Kumar said, “We have received the stock of medicine late this time and the sample of the medicine was sent to Kharar forensic laboratory for testing. Once the report of the sample comes to us, the medicine will be distributed to the OOAT centres. The testing report of medicine of Amritsar district is also awaited. We hope the issue will be sorted out till Friday.”
First Published: Sep 13, 2019 00:57 IST