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Drug Addiction and Abuse

Drug Addiction and substance abuse is a chronic, relapsing disease wherein the drug user compulsively spends time looking for and using an illegal drug. This form of addiction is characterized by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain. Some of the common drugs used by drug addicts are heroin, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mandrax, barbiturates and a variety of opiates. Estimates indicate that there are around three million drug addicts in India.

Traditionally in India, drug addicts are usually the responsibility of the family or the social group to which they belong. In most cases, drug addicts are treated through general health services, on a voluntary basis. Now, State level hospitals also offer rehabilitation facilities for indoor treatment to hard-core addicts through their psychiatry departments. Besides State run treatment centres, there is a network of de-addiction centres run by voluntary organizations. Also, community based treatment programmes are operated in different regions of the country.

The main thrust of these programmes is to strengthen the ties of addicts to their family and community and get the community to cooperate in the rehabilitation process. The de-addiction centres run by non-governmental organizations employ various systems of medicine such as allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, naturopathy and yoga coupled with a range of psychotherapies to cure addicts.

The Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation and Research Centre (External website that opens in a new window) (DAIRRC) is a registered Charitable Trust that is involved in rehabilitation of addicts. It was founded in 1982 in the city of Mumbai. This centre provides a wide range of rehabilitation services such as Heroin addiction treatment, Cocaine addiction treatment, Solvent Abuse Treatment, Treatment for addiction to Prescribed Medication, Methadone addiction treatment and Treatment for addiction to all Other Drugs of Abuse. More information and pictures of the rehab centre (External website that opens in a new window).

If drug addicts are to be completely rehabilitated, it is necessary for the local community to be involved in the treatment and social integration of addicts. To promote such an initiative a number of de-addiction camps (External website that opens in a new window) are being regularly organized at the community level through voluntary organizations. These camps provide counselling, treatment and rehabilitation facilities to drug addicts in the localities they live in. Building awareness and creating therapeutic communities are other concepts that help in the rehabilitation of addicts. More on de-addiction camps (External website that opens in a new window).

Self-help techniques have proved to be quite useful in the treatment of different types of addictions. A popular group that offers such techniques is Narcotics Anonymous (External website that opens in a new window). This group conducts private meetings where addicts learn from other addicts how to remain drug free and recover from addiction. These meetings are conducted regularly in cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai.

Currently, the ministry supports 361 voluntary organisations (External website that opens in a new window) that maintain 376 De-addiction-cum-Rehabilitation Centres (External website that opens in a new window) and 68 Counselling and Awareness Centres (External website that opens in a new window) in different regions of the country. The government also runs 100 De-addiction Centres (External website that opens in a new window) at its hospitals and Primary Health Centres for those who need long-term rehabilitation.

The National Centre of Drug Abuse Prevention (External website that opens in a new window) has identified 8 NGOs (External website that opens in a new window) with strong technical capabilities to provide training and information at regional levels, monitor programmes and implement the Drug Abuse Monitoring System (External website that opens in a new window). These NGO’s are Galaxy Club (External website that opens in a new window), Kripa Foundation (External website that opens in a new window), The Calcutta Samaritans (External website that opens in a new window), Mizoram Social Defence and Rehabilitation Board (External website that opens in a new window), Muktangan Mitra (External website that opens in a new window), Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (External website that opens in a new window), TT Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation (External website that opens in a new window) and Vivekananda Education Society (External website that opens in a new window).

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:10-02-2011