Officials seek police help to handle rush of patients at OOAT centres

Officials seek police help to handle rush of patients at OOAT centres

A view of an OOAT centre at Sursingh village in Amritsar on Wednesday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 25

Health Department employees on Wednesday faced a tough time in persuading patients to avoid rush at counters in Out Patient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) centres as a precaution to check the possible spread of coronavirus.

At some centres, the authorities had to call the police for help. Addicts were given medicine for four days and on Wednesday, they came to get the same for the upcoming days. On the occasion, they ignored all guidelines related to social distancing and gathered at OOAT centres in large numbers.

An employee at the OOAT centre in Sursingh village of Tarn Taran said, “We asked patients to come one by one and do not gather in groups. But, they did not listen to us.” Later, the authorities sought the help of senior health officials and police personnel. Tarn Taran district has 10 OOAT centres.

In Amritsar district, there was a huge rush of patients at OOAT centres as well. The district has 11 OOAT centres and as per the estimate, the two border districts have around 25 per cent of the addicts in the entire state.

Earlier, patients were required to take the medicine in front of the health officials to prevent its misuse. For the purpose, the patients were required to come to OOAT centres every day.

“If a large number of patients come together, the purpose of social distancing and curfew is defeated. To deal with the situation, we now have given some patients medicine for four days, some got medicines for five days and others got the same for six days. The objective is that they do not come together on the same day to get medicines,” said an official.

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