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Posted at: Jul 18, 2019, 6:44 AM; last updated: Jul 18, 2019, 6:46 AM (IST)PART-III

Kashmir high on addicts, low on facilities

PCR rehabilitation centre has 25 beds for patients, while SMHS de-addiction facility has just 15
Kashmir high on addicts, low on facilities
Twelve years ago, hardly any drug de-addiction centre or facility for treatment of addicts was there in Kashmir.

Rifat Mohidin

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 17

Twelve years ago, hardly any drug de-addiction centre or facility for treatment of addicts was there in Kashmir. The number of drug abusers was little too.

But at present, the scenario is so alarming that the government’s newly launched drug de-addiction policy says “the menace of drug addiction is widely spread, fast-rising and is quickly taking the form of an epidemic”. 

In 2007, Dr Muzaffar Khan, the incharge of the  drug de-addiction centre at Police Control Room (PCR), Srinagar, facilitated by the two top police officers in Kashmir, conducted three workshops in south Kashmir and Srinagar to check the situation.

“We saw just few people who were affected with drug abuse,” said Dr Khan, who has spent more than 12 years at the rehabilitation centre at PCR, treating thousands of drug addicts.

It was then that the team decided that there should be some facility for the addicts in Kashmir and a three-bed rehabilitation centre was started at the PCR by the J&K Police. The centre now has 25 beds.

“On the ground, we saw that there were some abusers but very less in number,” he said.

At the PCR de-addiction centre, from 2008 to 2014, nearly 12,069 patients were treated. From 2015 to 2017, the rehabilitation centre treated 5,520 at Out Patients Department (OPD) and 539 at In Patients Department (IPD).

As the problem has seen a steep increase, it saw 2,981 patients at OPD and 454 at IPD in 2018. 

Till June 2019, the centre saw 1,301 patients at OPD and 199 at IPD. Besides, the doctors said more than 123 patients were on the waiting list.

“The numbers are so huge that we are unable to cater to the rush,” said Dr Khan, adding that these were only those people who had sought help.

The drug de-addiction centre at PCR is soon shifting to Old Srinagar’s Eidgah, with a 50-bed capacity to accommodate more addicts.

The current drug addiction scenario in Kashmir is more dangerous, as more people have high dependency on heroin. The treatment often relapses, as those who get treated become addicts again.

A large number of young people are also reaching the drug de-addiction centre in Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, which has 15 beds. The hospital’s OPD witnessed 489 patients from April 2016-March 2017. But from April 2017-April 2018, it witnessed a seven-time increase in the number of patients, at 3,622. From April 2018-March 2019, 5,113 drug addicts visited the OPD.

In two months, from April to June 2019, it saw 1,095 patients. The total number of patients treated in the IPD from 2015 to June 2019 is 1,636. 

Patient count in 2 rehab centres

  • The PCR rehab centre in Srinagar saw 1,301 patients in the OPD and 199 in the IPD till June 2019. Besides, doctors said more than 123 patients were on the waiting list.
  • The drug rehab centre at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital saw 5,113 addicts in the  OPD during April 2018-March 2019 and 1,095 patients from April to June 2019

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