On Chemical Dependency…
An Organised Initiative had been made to get rid of drug addiction by the mid-20th Century… after serving jail terms, some drug addicts had set up the first self-help group in California, and New York in the 1940s! Even after that, the State did not allow drug addicts to organise rallies in the US. However, they decided to fight their own battle, as they received no help from the Greater Society!
The scenario is quite similar in India in the 21st Century! Due to the lack of public awareness, common people fail to differentiate between drug addiction, and other physical or mental (or psychological) illnesses… The Global Experience shows that even Doctors and Psychologists have, at times, failed to rehabilitate drug addicts in our Society. In recent past, the psychiatrists were seen using strong drugs, as well as electric shocks, to ‘treat’ drug addicts in the Government-run and -initiated Health Centres. The doctors had little idea that it might not be possible to remove the addicts’ (psychological) dependency on drugs through medicines there, at that time…
The Government can be blamed easily for not monitoring these Health Centres, properly… however, we cannot depend solely on Government Surveillance! The Government of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte had gunned down thousands of drug addicts in 2016, as a part of its initiative to War against Drug Addiction. Singapore, too, awards Death Penalty for possessing drugs. Unfortunately, a majority of the Governments across the globe has failed to possess a clear idea about the characteristics of drug addiction, and also about how to help addicts lead a normal life again!
A working person can enjoy Medical Leaves in India… but, a drug addict cannot apply for leaves, if s/he wants to receive treatment. India should, it is felt, take a leaf out of the lessons imparted by the US, where the American Family and Medical Leave Act has allowed drug addicts to enjoy this Right. The main aim of the Minnesota Model, which was introduced in the 1940s, was to establish such a Healthcare Facility that could ensure the basic Human Rights of the Drug Addicts!
India, too, has set up a number of Health Centres especially for drug addicts in different parts of the country on the basis of the Minnesota Model… however, lack of information about these Centres has rendered the initiative almost a failure. It is important for the Government to sensitise people about ‘drug addiction’, and ‘mental illness’. The Family, Society, as well as the State, need to take a close look at ‘Mental Health’, as the move could provide a great relief to such patients. Keeping in mind the increasing number of patients suffering from Schizophrenia in India, the State should make a serious attempt to ensure the Human Rights for patients suffering psychologically, and the drug addicts. Else, it will be difficult to tackle the situation when each and every family might be having at least a child with a more than a bit of Mental Illness…
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