Archit Watts & Anirudh Gupta
Tribune News Service
Muktsar/Ferozepur, July 16
A number of government-run outpatient opioid assisted treatment (OOAT) clinics in the district are facing a shortage of medicines used to treat drug addicts. As a result, the addicts are developing health complications and are lodging protests as well.
For instance, some addicts recently lodged a symbolic protest at the Community Health Centre at Chak Sherewala village here. “We are not getting the daily dose of medicines which helps us in dealing with symptoms. We want to quit drugs but the shortage of medicines at OOAT centres is a big problem,” an addict said.
Dr Kiran, Senior Medical Officer, Community Health Centre, Chak Sherewala, said, “There is a spurt in the number of patients registered with the OOAT clinic after March. We are not getting adequate supply of medicines.”
Dr Rahul Jindal, psychologist, Civil Hospital, said, “There is a shortage of medicines but we are managing somehow.”
“Some private de-addiction centres are now overcharging and giving medicines to the addicts at almost 10 times the actual price,” sources in the Health Department said.
As the supply chain of drugs and narcotics was broken due restrictions, thousands of drug addicts are making a beeline to OOAT centres in Ferozepur too, which has resulted in the shortage of buprenorphine tablets.
Sources in the Civil Hospital said most of the centres in the district were left with a stock of 1,500-2,000 tablets only whereas their actual requirement is 3.5 lakh tablets per month.
Dr Rachna Mittal, district incharge of the Drug De-addiction Centre, said earlier, they used to provide a dose for around 14 days to each patient, but now due to shortage, doctors are giving medicines only for one or two days.”
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