Drug users demand treatment facilities for overdose

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IMPHAL, Aug 31: Observing the 11th International Overdose Awareness Day at THAU Ground today, the drug users of the state have urged the government to provide drug overdose treatment facilities in all government health care centres.

The observation was organized by Manipur Drug Users Forum (MDUF) and Recovery Alliance-a community based group of drug users supported by MNP+.

Addressing the gathering at the observation, former member of Manipur Human Rights Commission, Lt Col (Retd) RK Rajendra stated that the energy of the youths need to be channelized properly to prevent drug abuse.

“We, the government, NGOs and civil society organizations also have to ensure that saving drugs like Naloxone are easily accessible to counter the effects of opiate drugs so that precious lives are saved”, he added.

General secretary SASO, Y shashikumar said that there could be a number of unreported cases of overdose and death. Recently, a drug user died of overdose at North AOC. Though the drop-in-centres (DIC) which provide Naloxone are located at the area the person could not be saved as the incident happened in the wee hours before the DIC was opened.

“Overdose treatment should be made available in casualty departments of all district hospitals in the state so that such cases are avoided in the future. Besides providing Naloxone, steps should be taken up to treat critical cases arising out of overdose”, Shashilkumar contended.

Validating this view, president MNP+, L Deepak stated that despite 19 DICs supported by Project ORCHID providing Naloxone in the state, people continue to die of overdose due to a host of factors like DIC timings, lack of awareness and stigma and discrimination.

The International Overdose Awareness Day was started in 2000 in response to th overwhelming increase in heroin overdose. The day is observed to honour those who have died and their loved ons and to bing attention to this public health crisis.

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