In order to contain the growing substance abuse in J&K, the UT Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AIIMS New Delhi for setting up Addiction Treatment Facilities (ATF) across eight districts.
Under a scheme of Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), the National Drug Dependence Treatment Center AIIMS New Delhi is in the process of setting up ATFs in 105 districts of India. In J&K, the ministry has allocated permission for 10 such centers, eight of which have received letter of approval (LoA) from AIIMS. Two more centers, a senior health of official said, are in the process of receiving the approval.
The scheme is a fully funded one and has provision for manpower, infrastructure and drugs required for setting up de-addiction centers. The UT will be required to allocate requisite space within a healthcare facility for the center.
The details procured from health and medical education department reveal that the approved centers to be set up soon would be located at Government Medical College Anantnag, GMC Dod, GMC Rajouri, District Hospital Pulwama, DH Budgam and DH Bandipora.
A senior health official said that approval for ATF at DH Shopian and Kulgam was awaited although letter of interest had been submitted to AIIMS.
These centers will only have out-patient facilities, the approval letters state. The letter follows the expression of interest by 10 Government hospitals in J&K and feasibility analysis for setting these centers up by AIIMS, the process of which had begun in July 2020, the communications reveal.
The centers, as per the ministry are meant to “enhance the avenues for treatment of substance use disorders (’addictions’) in the country.”
J&K has been struggling with the issue of substance abuse among youth. As per statistics from Kashmir division, heroin abuse has increased manifold over the past four years, reaching alarming levels in 2020.