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Chandigarh: More people turn to drug de-addiction centres now

The age group of patients is above 16 years, who come with addiction mostly of opioid, alcohol, cannabis and nicotine, say doctors.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh |
May 1, 2017 5:09:21 am

CITY HOSPITALS are recording an increase in the patients visiting drug de-addiction centres, doctors say. Currently, other than the 18-bedded drug de-addiction centres at GMCH in Sector 32 and GMSH in Sector 16, there is another 20-bedded facility at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), which caters to patients mostly from neighbouring states as well.

“Our OPD numbers are seeing an increase for sure,” says Dr Vijay Girdhar, head, department of psychiatry, GMSH, Sector 16. “At inpatient care (IPD), the number too has gone up as well for the last two months. Perhaps there are more patients because there is a new government in Punjab, and they are having this crackdown.”

Dr Girdhar says that patients at the hospital come from both Chandigarh and Punjab. The age group of patients is above 16 years, who come with addiction mostly of opioid, alcohol, cannabis and nicotine.

“Certainly in the OPD the number is increasing over the years,” says Dr Ajeet K Sidana, from department of psychiatry, GMCH, Sector 32, adding that the patients are from Punjab as well as Chandigarh.

Sidana says there are several reasons for the uptick in the numbers. “The awareness has increased. The people have start realising that this a treatable disease. Earlier, there was a perception that it was a social and bad habit. Now they understand it is a medical disorder and it needs to be treated on medical lines,” he says. “Facilities have been increased all over Chandigarh. Ten years ago, there wasn’t this much awareness.”

As per the data provided by GMCH authorities, the hospital drug de-addiction OPD saw 39 patients in January, 40 in February and 43 patients in March with substance disorder. In IPD, the number of such patients was 12 in February and 16 in March.

Another doctor from GMCH maintains that in the camps organised by the hospital in the city, they get drug addicts who are seeing a doctor for the first time.

“In 90 per cent of cases, patients told us that they never sought any treatment,” he says. “It means that the problem exists in the city and is more serious than it appears.”

While the number of patients has increased, doctors say that the dedication centres in the hospitals need more beds urgently. “We have a fixed number of beds. Currently, we are taking only acute cases in the IPD because of the shortage. People have to be put on a wait list sometimes,” says Sidana.

He says that the GMCH has a proposal to set up 40-bedded centre for drug de-addiction at the hospital. “We will keep predominantly patients in the centre who would require long stay,” says Dr Ajeet.

“We need more facilitates in Chandigarh. The patient load is increasing and to treat patients properly, we need more facilities,” says a PGIMER doctor.

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