Sirsa witnesses five-fold jump in de-addiction patients

Sirsa witnesses five-fold jump in de-addiction patients

Deepender Deswal

Tribune News Service

Hisar/Sirsa, January 23

The number of patients afflicted by drug addiction has gone up five times in three years in Sirsa district.

Rise in the number of patients at Civil Hospital’s de-addiction centre is primarily due to department’s awareness initiative among the masses Viresh Bhushan, Sirsa Civil Surgeon

As many as 30,148 patients visited the outdoor patient department (OPD) at Civil Hospital’s de-addiction centre in 2019, a spurt since 2017 when around 5,780 patients visited the centre.

With an average of 82 patients visiting the OPD daily, the district authorities are surprised at the rise in drug addiction cases in recent years, especially in areas located along Punjab and Rajasthan borders.

Health officials say the department, through its outreach programme, has tried to give addicts a fresh start. However, they feel a coordinated effort by the social justice department, police and the health department is needed to tackle the menace.

In a worrying trend, background scan of addicts points to rampant heroin abuse by youths hailing from lower income groups, mostly daily wagers.

“Earlier, heroin was known as an urban drug. But drug traffickers have managed to infiltrate rural areas. A dose of heroin that used to cost Rs 5,000 earlier is now available at Rs 100 to Rs 200,” says an official, adding the available ‘chitta’ is of low quality.

Also, children as young as 12 are getting hooked on heroin, while earlier it was presumed youngsters in job or college students belonging to rich families were addicted to it. Younger children are easier to lure into drugs, he says.

“Since drugs are usually consumed in groups, we have been able to reach out to such groups. We have submitted proposal for a separate de-addiction centre at Dabwali. Ellenabad patients visit Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. The problem is more or less equally distributed in the district,” says the official.

Drug smugglers are marketing narcotics the same way as multinational companies promote their products in the market.

“Earlier it was poppy husk, then opium and now ‘chitta’, a cheaper version of heroin that is being promoted among vulnerable youth. While there is more awareness in Punjab, which has grappled with the menace for years, people in Haryana are still in the denial mode about addiction and try to keep it under the wraps,” he says.

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