14 Himachal de-addiction centres close down during pandemic

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 16

Since March last year, 14 private de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in Himachal have shut down due to death of inmates, financial crunch or failure to adhere to norms.

Inhuman behaviour reported at few centres

  • It has been brought to our notice that at some de-addiction centres, inhuman behaviour, threats and physical force are being used in the name of rehabilitation, and in some cases deaths have been reported, said the CEO, HP State Mental Health Authority.

In the past one and a half years, five deaths of inmates have been reported —- three in Solan and two in Una —- following which four centres were closed while 10 were either unable to fulfil the minimum standards of service or became financially unviable due to decrease in the number of patients during the pandemic. The death of inmates leads to closure as people start avoiding such centres.

Five centres each closed down in Solan and Una, two in Kangra and one each in Mandi and Shimla districts. At present, the number of private de-addiction and rehabilitation centres functioning in the state is 67, said Chief Executive Officer, Himachal Pradesh State Mental Health Authority (HPSMHA), Sanjay Pathak.

It is mandatory for the drug de-addiction centres operating in the state to get registered with the HPSMHA and meet the minimum standards for infrastructure and manpower and fulfil the criteria of the Rehabilitation Council of India and WHO-recommended treatment protocols.

The centres must have 75-100 square feet area per person, facility for sports, yoga and meditation, qualified staff and medical officer or psychiatrists on call among other amenities.

The provisional registration of 57 centres, meanwhile, has been renewed after the visit of district inspection teams.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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