HEALTH Department observes international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking


Chandigarh, June 26, 2013: According to the mapping estimates, there are around 13,000 Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) in the state of Punjab. Out of the estimated number of 13,000 IDUs in the state, above 10,600 are being covered at present through the Targeted Intervention programmes.   
This was stated by Madan Mohan Mittal on the occasion of International Day against drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Mittal said that the Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS) has adopted harm reduction as a strategy to prevent HIV transmission among IDUs through 32 Targeted Intervention (TI) programs. He said that major concentration of the IDUs is in urban pockets of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and in neighbouring districts of Tarn Taran, Ropar, Gurdaspur and Patiala. IDUs are identified and provided with required preventive services i.e. Behaviour Change Communication, sterile needle & syringes, condoms, STI treatment, Opioid Substitution Treatment, Referral services for HIV testing, Syphilis screening, DOTs, ART etc.
Minister added that 14 Opioid Substitution Therapy centres are functional in the state and 5 more centres would be made functional during the present year.   
He said that as part of the program, Opioid Substitution Therapy is being implemented in public health setup under collaborative model of service delivery in thirteen districts of Punjab. He added that Opioid Substitution Therapy involves substitution of injecting opioid drugs with oral medication that effectively minimises craving and withdrawals, and thereby enables IDUs to stop injecting drugs. Through this programme, attempt is also being made to strengthen the relationship of IDUs with their family members through individual and group counselling.
Minister said that increased coverage of IDUs under harm reduction intervention has resulted in decline in HIV positivity among IDUs from 26% to 21%. Till now 71 Injecting Drug Users have completed their treatment with Opioid Substitution Therapy and stared leading normal life.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013