Gangtok, 29 June 2012:
The newly established Opoid Substitution Therapy (OST) Centre at STNM Hospital was inaugurated by the Principal Director Health, Dr IL Sharma.
While addressing the gathering he stated that the OST has been devised after much of research for saving the Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), form various ill effects. It is given orally and is less harmful. Opening of OST Centre he said would be helpful in providing an opportunity to Doctors and Counselors to talk to the IDUs.
Project Director, Sikkim State AIDS Control Society (SSACS), Dr Uttam Pradhan said that a sensitization workshop has already been held for those who have to work for implementing the programme. The programme has been implemented at the initiative of NACO. It was started in 2008 in Punjab, from where it has been extended across the country, including Gangtok, he added.
Drug abuse being serious problem in the State, hence this kind of therapy has to be followed. IDUs have emerged as the high risk group with potential of contracting and transmitting HIV. To deal with the problem substitution therapy with opioids is the treatment strategy being introduced here, for minimising the harm caused in IDUs. For this, a scheduled drug, known as Buprenorphine listed as a psychotropic substance under the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act is used as one of the two opioid medications. This medicine is orally given to the IDUs, thus replacing clients’ primary drug of use (opioid) under supervision. Gradually the IDU stops injecting drug. This prevents contracting HIV and other likely diseases, he further mentioned.
This new venture sponsored by the Regional NACO Office, Guwahati through the SSACS is expected to reduce early deaths due to drug injecting and also help them to give up such habits.