Bhanu P Lohumi
Shimla, April 18
The multiple drug use among addicts is on the rise and 40 per cent calls received on the Drug Prevention Helpline, launched on January 6 this year, were related to multiple substance use.
As many as 101 calls were received on the helpline (1100) in the past four months, which included 67 calls for help regarding addicts, out of which 28 were related to multiple drug users, 15 alcoholic, 13 opioid users, 10 cannabis and one pharma drugs while 34 were for queries and
In 47 cases, the calls were closed after providing counselling and treatment, 11 were forced close as there was no response from the callers and help was being provided on nine calls. The maximum cases were from Solan, followed by Kangra and Mandi. At present, the helpline is being manned by convener and adviser of the Nasha Nivaran Board Om Prakash Sharma and CEO, HP State Mental Health Authority, Dr Sanjay Pathak.
The easy access to drugs, pressure to follow friends, inquisitiveness to try something new and non-cordial relations in the family are the reasons for drug abuse, said Sharma, adding that the problem was more prevalent in families where there was no elder male member.
People had sold land due to drug addiction. About 110 beds are available in the model de-addiction centre and Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCA).
A minimum of 10 beds should be made available only for drug abuse patients in the psychiatry department of all six medical colleges in the state and the board is taking up the issue with the state government.
As many as 5,972 persons, including 44 foreigners, have been arrested in 4,514 cases under the NDPS Act in the past three years from 2019 to 2021.