Govt to take ‘reduction’, not abstinence’, route on drugs
Shruti Srivastava Posted: Mon Sep 05 2011, 02:57 hrs New Delhi:
From advising abstinence, the government is moving to “harm reduction” in its battle against drug abuse. The focus of this new policy, drafted in the light of a growing problem, is “reducing the harm caused by smoking, snorting or consuming drugs orally or (by) injection”.
The change is proposed under the National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance, announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in this year’s Budget. Under it, addicts will be “provided clean needles and syringes to inject”, a source said.
“Then there would be oral substitution in which the injecting drug user (IDU) is supplied buprenorphine or methadone and persuaded to take them orally”. Buprenorphine and methadone are used world over for detoxification and “harm reduction”.
Gradually, it is hoped, the addicts can be nudged towards giving up drugs altogether. To prevent misuse of the policy, it will be implemented through only hospitals or centers set up or supported by government.
By supplying clean syringes and needles, the government hopes to check the spread of HIV.
However, inside prisons, where drug abuse is problem, inmates would be compulsorily put through de-addiction and not treated with “harm reduction”.
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