HC directs govt to immediately finalise drug de-addiction policy

HC directs govt to immediately finalise drug de-addiction policy
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SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Friday directed the state government to finalise its drug de-addiction policy immediately, given the impact of this “social malady”.
The Division Bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Sindhu Sharma passed the direction after State Counsel Aamir Shah informed court that the draft drug de-addiction policy has been framed, adding that for finalising the policy, the authorities have sought comments from the general public.
He also said that the drug de-addiction policy would be finalised as soon as this process is complete.
In August this year, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam had called for framing the drug de-addiction policy to review the follow-up action taken by the state government on the directions of the High Court passed in OWP (PIL) 397 of 2005.
“As policy stands drafted, the finalization of the policy should be done in no time,” the court directed.
The court on a previous hearing had directed the government to revisit the phenomena of drug addiction, treatment and control of drugs entering the state in a comprehensive manner, keeping in mind new methods adopted globally.
The court had observed that it was the duty of the government to check the menace of drug addiction and thus eradicate the root cause of various problems.
“The issue related to the drug addiction, which impacts the citizens of the state, will have to be considered on the special platform, keeping in light the matter adopted by other states in so far as the establishment of drug de-addiction centres for rehabilitation of the victims is concerned,” the court had said.
The litigation points out that drug addiction in the Kashmir valley has resulted in a very grim situation for want of proper facilities like de-addiction centres and other treatment services, as per the needs pointed out by research and legal provisions.
The court had also observed that in so far as the establishment of drug de-addiction centres for the victims’ rehabilitation is concerned, and in view of the experience gathered from other states and also from various international forums dealing with drug addiction, it was the duty of the government to revisit the social malady.

The Draft De-Addiction Policy
The draft policy reveals that drug de-addiction centres should be integrated with the main hospitals to undo the stigmatisation of the treatment process that occurs when centres are established in isolation. From past experiences, it is submitted by the policy makers that isolation leads to increased stigmatisation and feelings of shame and exclusion, which impede case findings and make treatment difficult.
“The de-addiction centers should be integrated with the hospitals not only functionally but also geographically,” the policy recommends.
The policy also lists services recommended for model de-addiction centres such as registration and documentation, outpatient and inpatient treatment, emergency services including ambulance services, dispensing of medications, psychosocial interventions, laboratory services, consultation with Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), record maintenance and service audit systems, training of other medical staff from primary and secondary care levels, de-addiction centres at the medical college level which should provide harm reduction services wherever indicated.
“Staff for model de-addiction centers has also been provided, which at minimum must be manpower with a Psychiatrist from MCI recognized institution, a clinical Psychologist with RCI recognized degree, a Social Worker, a nurse, a Pharmacist etc,” the policy states.
The draft policy also indicates the need to have special cells dedicated to the drug menace and states the need for the J&K Police, Security and Intelligence wing and Crime Branch to work in tandem with nodal de-addiction centres by deputing adequate personnel for training.
The monitoring committee for the implementation of the policy will be a state-level committee headed by the chief secretary and will have the administrative secretary of the Department of Health and Medical Education as the vice-chairman and administrative secretaries of Law, Education, Social Welfare, Youth Services and Sports and the Director SKIMS, IG Crime and Excise Commissioner as its members.