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Kerala: Deaddiction centres in need of overhaul

Posted December 2nd, 2016, 12:23 PM IST

Kerala: Deaddiction centres in need of overhaul

THIRUVANANTHPURAM: With alcohol related health problems rising in Kerala, there is a pressing need to start de-addiction centres in all districts besides overhauling the existing ones including those attached to medical college hospitals. The recent population based survey carried out by the State Mental Health Authority along with National Mental Health Mission found that at 3.6 per cent people in 18 years age group and above in Kollam, Idukki, Palakkad, Wayanad and Kasargod had alcohol-related health problems. Over all prevalence of alcohol related problems was 1.46 per cent. The estimated prevalence of alcohol related problems in the study population of 1,92,980 residents covering 45,886 households, was 1.09 per cent.

It pointed out that 50 per cent of these people had clinically significant problems related to alcohol abuse. This pattern was seen in almost all districts. The highest number of alcohol related problems was reported from Idukki. Experts say the government which is focusing on awareness programmes, needs to pay more attention to strengthening de-addiction and rehabilitation programmes. Alcohol related investigations in the study had also pointed to the need for more de-addiction centres with facilities of psychiatrists, psychologists, consultant psychiatrist who can visit the hospital at least twice a week to hold Out Patient wings.

Sources said there were only 14 psychologists in the state and their number is inadequate considering the number of patients coming to the centres. Similarly, the number of trained psychiatrists also needs to be raised significantly to strengthen the de addiction and rehabilitation programme. Experts say most of the centres don’t have facilities like trained psychiatrists, nursing staff and attenders. Trained staff is required to handle patients with withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol and substance abuse. These centres also require psycho pharmacology stores to provide cost effective medicines for treatment and rehabilitation.