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Drug addicts being treated without psychiatrist in Gurdaspur

Drug addicts being treated without psychiatrist in Gurdaspur

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Ravi Dhaliwal

Gurdaspur, June 18

Drug addicts at the Red Cross de-addiction centre here are undergoing rehabilitation without the aid of a psychiatrist as the health authorities are averse to posting one due to inexplicable reasons.

Experts’ opinion

  • Rehabilitation experts say the treatment of an addict is not at all effective if there is no psychiatrist to hold his hand
  • Other addictions can be handled without the services of a psychiatrist, but treating heroin addicts is a different story altogether, they say

Around 90 per cent of the addicts in the district are hooked on heroin. Their number is increasing by the day despite a drive launched by the Gurdaspur police against drug suppliers and consumers.

Rehabilitation experts say the treatment of an addict is not at all effective if there is no psychiatrist to hold his hand. Other addictions can be handled without the services of a psychiatrist, but treating addicts hooked on the white powder is a different story altogether, they say.

Romesh Mahajan, project director of the centre, said his institution was in danger of being shut down if the Health Department did not assign the services of a mental health expert immediately.

“An inspection by the Deputy Commissioner and Health Department officials is due in August. The moment they get to know we are functioning without a psychiatrist, they may not renew our licence,” he said.

Mahajan said he has written numerous letters to the Civil Surgeon, the appointing authority for a psychiatrist, but to no avail. A government doctor, Dr Varinder Mohan, did service for nearly 10 years before he was forced to leave following his promotion. Later, a doctor, an MD in psychiatry, worked for a couple of months. Dr Raman Pathania was assigned the duty after she left in November last year. However, he never turned up there. Keeping in view the seriousness of the situation, the centre has requisitioned the services of a private physician Dr KS Babbar, an MD in medicine, to keep things going till a qualified psychiatrist arrives.

A senior functionary of the Gurdaspur Civil Hospital said the decision to appoint a psychiatrist was to be taken at the level of the Director (Health). “Moreover, the Health Department has come out with a new policy pertaining to such an appointment. Hopefully, things will work out over the next few days,” he said.

Komalpreet Kaur, a therapist, said, “With heroin being easily available, addicts keep on coming and to treat them we need a psychiatrist without which we reach nowhere.”

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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