Ministers’ group proposes inclusion of course on de-addiction in MBBS curriculum
A Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine the draft national policy for drug demand reduction has proposed that a course on de-addiction be made part of MBBS curriculum.
Headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, the GoM has also called for accreditation of de-addiction centres, both private and government-run, to ensure standardisation in rehabilitation.
According to sources, the GoM at its meeting last week recommended that all drug rehabilitation centres be converted into treatment clinics with outdoor patient facilities as well as provision for indoor patient care.
The recommendations will be sent to the Union cabinet for approval.
Healthcare experts had been demanding the setting up of long-stay homes for drug users, pointing out how hospitals with limited beds and facilities had to discharge patients soon after their withdrawal symptoms subsided.
Dr Rajesh Sagar, professor of psychiatry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said the psychiatric component in the curriculum includes alcohol and drug abuse, but its scope needs to be widened.
“We have been demanding the psychiatric component should be strengthened because at the moment, MBBS students have little exposure to it. There are evidences that if a general practitioner sees 100 patients, at least 30 of them have psychiatric diagnosis. But there is a mismatch in exposure,” Dr Sagar said.
He also pointed out that alcohol and drug abuse lead to multi-morbidity and need to be managed in a holistic manner. A hospital-like facility for treating abuse, he said, would ensure that patients are provided holistic care under one roof.
With an aim to increase the penetration of drug de-addiction centres across the country, the GoM has also proposed setting up centres in all districts. There are over 400 districts in the country where de-addiction and rehabilitation facilities are not available. The GoM constituted by the Prime Minister in September comprises eight other Union ministers, including minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj, health minister JP Nadda, social justice and empowerment minister Thaawarchand Gehlot and finance minister Arun Jaitley.
These inputs will pave the way for a draft policy on drug demand reduction, redrafted by the ministry of social justice and empowerment in January, but was found “very lengthy”.