NEW DELHI: To step-up the battle against the severe challenge posed by drug use and alcoholism, the Centre is all set to roll out its action plan for 2020-21 with focus on building up treatment and de-addiction facilities in 272 districts identified as vulnerable based on the prevalence of substance abuse and the access to drugs. The focus will be on reaching the youth and high risk population.
Since 125 of the 272 districts do not have
Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts
(IRCAs) supported by the Centre, it has been decided to set-up addiction treatment facilities in government hospitals through National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre of All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
The officials of the ministry of social justice and empowerment (MSJE), which is steering the action plan to combat drug abuse, are learnt to have written to states for identifying hospitals in the identified vulnerable districts where AIIMS can help hospitals in setting-up dedicated addiction treatment facilities.
On the list of 272 from across states one finds 18 districts of Punjab, a state which has been struggling to deal with the drug problem for years now. In Maharashtra four districts Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Mumbai have been identified as vulnerable. In Delhi all 11 districts are vulnerable and treatment facilities are proposed to be set-up in north, west and Shahdara district. In Uttar Pradesh around 33 districts have been identified as vulnerable. In Gujarat there are eight vulnerable districts.
To give an impetus to the annual action plan, the MSJE on Friday, observed as the International Day Against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking, will launch a national campaign titled “Nasha Mukt Bharat”.
As of today there 495 IRCAs across states with in-patient facilities. According to officials in the 272 vulnerable districts the focus will be on setting up drop-in-centres for addicts and also on peer-led community based outreach programmes for high risk populations – particularly the youth. The drop-in centres will have provision for screening, assessment and counselling and would provide linkage to treatment and rehabilitation services for drug dependents.
Going by the findings of the “Magnitude of Substance Abuse in India” report 2019, of the estimated 16 crore alcohol consumers in the 10-75 years in the country, as many as 19% of them were dependent on alcohol. As many as 5.7 crore dependent users required treatment. Among users of drugs, those requiring treatment is estimated to be 72 lakh for Cannabis, 60 lakh for opioids and 11 lakhs for sedatives.