A total of 32 private drug rehabilitation centres in Guwahati, the capital city of Assam, have prepared a road map to assist the government in the fight against drugs. A proposal of eight significant points will be submitted before chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma soon.
There are over 40 private drug rehab centres in the city. The centres charge around Rs 1-2 lakh for a period of six months for treatment and rehabilitation of the drug users. The government does not have any mechanism to monitor the activities of the private rehab centres.
Dr Sondeep Hanse, chief functionary of State-Level Coordinating Agency (SLCA) for drug prevention for Assam and Meghalaya, said that the owners of the centres discussed the matter of drug demand reduction and rehabilitation on the day of International Drugs Day and have decided to assist the government in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
He said the first proposal to the government is to open opioid substitution therapy (OST) centres in at least 10 civil hospitals and empanel these private rehab centres in providing immediate outdoor treatment to the drug users by bringing them from the field.
He said the rehab centres will do outdoor monitoring, treatment and rehabilitation of the drug users as it is not possible for the government to handle the entire process to treat a drug user as it takes a period of around 6 months.
Hanse, besides, said that the rehab centres have also decided to assist the de-addiction cell in the jails if the government empanels the centres. Assam has 31 jails.
Assam has 26 drug rehab centres run by different NGOs under the Social Welfare department. They get around Rs 24 lakh every year from the Centre. However, according to an official source, just four out of the 26 are currently fully functional. Moreover, the social welfare department does not monitor these centres.
The official further said that the state has around 3 lakh drug users; of which the capital city has around 70,000. Of the total drug users, 10 percent also does drugs peddling.
Police have intensified the war against drugs after the new government was formed on May 10. Over 1,000 people have been arrested by the police across the state in connection with drug-related cases.
Drugs are pumped in through Indo-Myanmar international border to Manipur, from where the drugs are transported to Assam via Nagaland and sent to other parts of the country.