HC directs for finalization of drug de-addiction policy

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Nov 30: State Government has drafted the policy for drug de-addiction and the High Court today directed for its finalization.
Government today informed the court that the policy for drug de-addiction for the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been drafted by the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Kashmir in collaboration with Department of Psychiatry, SKIMS Medical College, Srinagar and uploaded it on the official website for the comments and response from the general public.
The Division Bench of Sanjeev Kumar and Justice Sindhu Sharma directed to finalize the said policy and report the court by or before next date. The draft policy was put in place before the court by the Principal Secretary to Government, H&ME Department, J&K along with its affidavit as directed in-terms of previous directions.
Court on previous hearing had expressed its serious displeasure on the State authorities or not framing the policy and had directed the Central Government for examining the issue in tune with Court directions.
Today at the very threshold of the matter, the State counsel informed the court that the Government has drafted the policy and the same be finalized after receiving the comments and suggestion from the general public as such the same has been put on official website.
The draft policy revealed that drug de-addiction centers should be integrated with the main hospitals to facilitate de-stigmatization of treatment process that occurs when centers are established in isolation.
From the past experiences, it is submitted by the policy makers that isolation leads to increased stigmatization and feelings of shame and exclusion, which impedes case finding and makes treatment difficult. “The de-addiction centers be integrated with the hospitals not only functionally but also geographically”, the policy recommended.
List of services which has been recommended for model de-addiction centers provides as Registration and documentation, outpatient treatment, inpatient, emergency services including ambulance services, Dispensing of medications, psychosocial interventions, Laboratory services, Consultation with RNTCP & NACO, Record maintenance and Service audit systems, Training of other medical staff from primary and secondary care levels and De-addiction Centers 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.
There has been also indicated need to have special cells dedicated to drug menace, in the draft policy and J&K Police, Security and Intelligence wing and Crime Branch need to work in tandem with Nodal Centers by deputing adequate personnel for training.
Monitoring Committee for implementation of the policy will be a State level committee headed by Chief Secretary and will have administrative secretary of the department of H&ME as the Vice Chairman and Administrative Secretaries of Law, Education, Social Welfare, Youth Services & Sports, Director SKIMS, IG Crime and Excise Commissioner will be its members.
This committee will meet twice a year, once each in Jammu and Srinagar, to monitor the implementation of the policy of the committee and also suggest changes in the policy from time to time as may deem proper.
Apart from this, policy makers have also indicated issues like problems faced by the authorities, impact on society, impact on economy, impact on public safety, principles of the policy, key strategies, Rules & Regulations, Rehabilitation, Infrastructure, Lack of facilities, Gap analysis, Responsibilities, Monitoring, Functioning and Action Policy in the draft policy.
A report from the Principal Secretary to Government H&ME department, which revealed that the respondents have passed a Government order No. 479-HME of 2018 constituting a committee to draft a drug de-adiction policy for the State which is consisting of 19 members.
A sub-committee thereof was constituted also comprising 3 members. But nothing has been brought before the court about the framing of policy till date. On this, court said the directions passed by the court have not been complied with.


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