Amritsar, April 21
Only a few patients have approached the Government Yoga and Ayurvedic De-Addiction Centre that opened at Verka here four months ago.
It is country’s first government-run five-bed day boarding de-addiction centre that was inaugurated by the then Deputy Chief Minister OP Soni in December last year for treating drug addicts with Ayurvedic system and medicines without any side-effects. However, due to lack of awareness among patients, coupled with shortage of staff, the centre is not being utilised to its full potential.
Dr Ranbir Singh Kang, District Ayurvedic Officer, said the government-run centre focusses on treating patients not only through Ayurvedic medicines, but also yoga, exercise, meditation and counselling.
“We are hoping that the required strength of the staff will be fulfilled in the near future as the government has issued the advertisement for the same,” he said. At present, there are two medical officers against three post and two pharmacists. The centre requires two staff nurses and two massagers for treatment of patients. Dr Kang said so far, around 10 patients have recovered through Ayurvedic treatment, that also includes five-step Panchkarma therapies for complete de-toxification of the body. The therapies also help in rejuvenation of the mind and body. Yoga and psychological counselling of patients is also part of the treatment. Patients are put on treatment after diagnosis on the basis of history and symptoms, he said. Setting up ayurvedic de-addiction centres in the border state is considered significant, as it has been grappling with drug abuse, which has assumed alarming proportions. According to estimates, there are over 7 lakh drug patients in Punjab alone (*).
“Ayurvedic method of treatment provides an alternative treatment options to drug abuse patients. At present, they were being treated using Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) by offering buprenorphine. But it is not considered the right method, as it hooks a patient from one addiction to another resulting in huge number of patients making a beeline outside OAAT centres,” a health official said.
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