Mangalore: Though a good number of youths in the city are addicted to various narcotic substances, the number of addicts, who arrive for treatment at de-addiction centres, is less.
According to experts, while some drug addicts visit medical colleges in the city or Nimhans in Bangalore, many prefer to stay away from any kind of de-addiction treatment. As many as 51 drug addicts, who were addicted to ganja, heroin, charas, tablets or any other substances, have availed de-addiction treatment at two prominent de-addiction centres in the city in the past three years. While Prajna Counselling Centre treated and rehabilitated 31 drug addicts in the past three years, another major institute Link De-Addiction and Counselling Centre helped 20 persons to kick their addiction.
Prajna Counselling Centre director Hilda Rayappan told TOI that while they have treated and rehabilitated 17,324 addicts since 1991, only 184 were drug addicts and the rest addicted to alcohol. And 85% of these addicts are men.
“Many do not come for de-addiction once they start showing amotivational syndrome. Further, we do not have advanced facilities to treat severely addicted cases. Hence, we refer them to Nimhans,” she said adding that most of the addicts seek assistance at the age of 20-25 years.
Hilda opined that majority of the drug addicts in the city are addicted to ganja. “It is difficult for parents or teachers to make out if a child starts using ganja or heroin as it has no smell like alcohol. Addicts go on increasing the dosage and finally they reach the amotivational stage,” she said.
Referring to few case studies, Hilda said that youths from all sections of society are prone to addiction. “Children fall prey to drugs when parents do not concentrate on their activities,” she said citing the example of a child belonging to a middle class family in the city.
Link De-Addiction Centre administrator Lydia Lobo said that out of 20 drug addicts they treated, only one was a girl, a PU student. “Addicts in the age group of 18-25 years used to enrol with us for treatment generally. We have a psychiatrist and medical officer in our centre to look after mental and physical health of addicts. Meanwhile, group therapies, individual counselling, counselling for parents, interaction with parents and other group activities help addicts in self-realisation,” Lydia said adding that cases which need advanced treatment are referred to Nimhans.
Hilda observes that drug addiction starts at an early age of 10-15 years and people start showing amotivational syndrome at the age of 25. Amotivational syndrome is a psychological condition associated with diminished inspiration to participate in social situations and other activities. A person with this syndrome will show no interest in going to school, college, reading, writing and playing, Hilda said.
Prajna Counselling Centre has rehabilitated three sisters of age nine, seven and five years, who were addicted to smelling petrol and whitener. Hilda said that while the eldest girl has returned to her home town in Hassan district, two younger siblings are going to school. Children were rescued by the Child Welfare Committee near Jyothi Circle in September 2009. They were smelling and consuming petrol or whitener when they were hungry.
Statistics of Prajna Counselling Centre – Period from April 1991 to June 2013
Drug addicts: 184