The Need for Affordable Help for Addicts

Bangalore City Health

Lack of government-sponsored de-addiction centres are pushing patients to costly private treatments.

By Thanuja. M

Bengaluru, April 11, 2019: Bengaluru is in need of more government supported de-addiction centres. There are many people who get addicted to drugs, alcohol and  other intoxicants and find it very difficult to move away from them

Currently, there are only two government de-addiction centres in Bangalore. So in order to overcome their addiction, people are compelled to approach the private de-addiction centres which charge the patients a really high price.

A patient’s sister, who did not want to be named, said “My brother is suffering from alcohol addiction for the past three to four months. As the government hospitals, de-addiction centres are so few in number, we are forced to go to a private de-addiction centre.

These centres charge us huge amounts of money. The medicines that they prescribe are not available in the outdoor pharmacy shops. They are available only in the de-addiction centre’s pharmacy and the prices are really high. So, we have to pay a high amount for the treatment as well as the medicines.”

The private de-addiction centres charge nearly Rs 2,000 per month for treatment.

She further added, “In order to encourage more people to relieve themselves of addiction to drugs and alcohol, the government should open many more de-addiction centres.”

A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) shows that out of 281 children, mostly the ones living on streets, 197 were found to be drug users and only 84 of them were non-users of other intoxicants.

Madan, a psychiatrist said “Yes, private de-addiction centres charge a huge amount for the treatment they provide. There is a mistake on their part because they provide that kind of bedding and treatment. People who come from the lower strata of society will not be able to afford the treatment because of the cost. Thus, they will refrain from going for treatment. This will, in turn, affect their family itself. But they have no other option.”

When a big city like Bengaluru does not have provisions for providing treatment at a lower cost, what will the people from the villages do? The government in partnership with  Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) should start more such de-addiction centres. Both private and government de-addiction centres should be open so that people can choose as to which they want.”