Present trend of private drug rehabilitation centres in the State: Drug Rehabilitation Centre’s Union Manipur_Private

The four decades long scenario of drug use and its availability in the state have been drastically changed in the recent years. The state of Manipur has long suffered for being located in one of the world’s notorious transit route of a flourishing drug trade in South East Asia. Countless youths have fallen prey to the scourge and there seems to be no respite in sight till now but what is more alarming is that the trend has shifted and the state is gradually heading towards production of illicit drugs such as heroin, brown sugar and illegal mass cultivation of poppy and cannabis. This undeniable fact is evident in the day to day news reports of seizure of such illicit drugs. The scenario has become so severe that one cannot simply wish away, consequently various approaches to combat the menace are being made from all quarters. One of the crucial responses has been from the sections that had once been victims of the devastating impact of drugs and somehow overcame it with their sheer determination. Armed with the first hand knowledge of living drug free lives and bitter experiences, many recovering former drug users ventured out to help those who are going down in the same beaten path since the late 90s and early 2010s by opening up private drug rehabilitation centres. Based on a humane centric approach in pursuing freedom from drug dependency syndromes with emphasis on personal well being and all round health, few private drug rehabilitation centres initiated rendering its services despite facing odds in terms of financial and infrastructural resources. An upside of this unique undertaking by a handful of former drug users who had found a new way of life is that there was a sudden leap in the numbers of recovering drug users. Sources from self help groups of former drug users suggest that there was an increase in double times the numbers of recovering drug users in a short span of time i.e. since 2013 to 2015. Following the success of private rehab centres in effectively addressing the prevailing scenario of drug use to some extent, many new private rehab centres solely managed by former drug user emerged with increasing demands for treatment in privately run rehabilitation centres. The result was quite evident as the number of recovering drug users tripled up and gradually keeps increasing.
Despite success in the treatment front and result oriented approach, there were also certain drawbacks that some private drug rehabilitation centers encountered from time to time. As number of centres increases with no system in place to check its functioning and overcrowding of clients, reports of stray untoward incidents occurring in some of these rehabs started surfacing in recent years. These were random instances of violations of rights of those seeking treatment and questionable treatment practice owing mainly to lack of human resource management skills by service providers. Taking grave concern over the irregularities and to address the prevailing issue, many private drug rehabilitation centres decided to come together and to collectively make reforms. Thereafter, after a series of meetings, consultations and workshop, a forum of private drug rehabilitation centres entitled ‘Drug Rehabilitation Centres Union Manipur- Private’ (DRUM-P) was formed in June 2017 and subsequently in August 2017, a guideline in form of a ‘terms and conditions’ to be adhered by members of the Forum was adopted in spite of each centre members having their own service delivery protocols. However, the adopted ‘terms and conditions’ remain unapproved due to need of certain amendments until the second General Body Meeting of DRUM-P which was held on 5th June 2019 in which a total of 24 private drug rehabilitation centres unanimously approved the ‘terms and conditions’. Thereafter, the same guideline was submitted to Principal Secretary Health and Social Welfare, Government of Manipur on June 6th 2019 for consideration while developing a regulation for private rehabilitation centres by the state government.
The core of the aforementioned ‘terms and conditions’ were based on bringing about a quality service through humane centric approach and maintaining equity.  Keeping in sight of the goal being pursuit by DRUM-P, a survey team was formed to assess the prevailing ground reality of the centres that are in the fold of the forum. The assessment conducted in the early part of July, 2019 largely took stock of the human resource, infrastructure, hygiene and documentation of these centres. After a detailed analysis of the outcome, the Forum decided to hold a series of training cum consultation programmes to attain its objective. The first of which was held on July 12, 2019 participated by 32 individuals from 24 private rehabilitation centres. Though the Forum has its fair share of inadequacies and financial constraints, it has determined to standardize the private rehab centres to be more reliable and acceptable by the society at large. Considering the gravity of the situation and the threatening impacts of drugs in the already grim state of affairs, DRUM-P believes that it is the bounden duty of those working in the treatment area to put in optimum effort in order to make a difference. However in this critical juncture, a narrow and superficial outlook to the sincere efforts of private rehabilitation centres by certain elements is posing to disturb the harmony amongst the community led drug workers and drug users’ community at large. Instead of generalizing and ostracizing of private rehabilitation centres based on unfortunate blunders occurred in some centres, DRUM-P feels that it would be in the best interest of all if criticisms and efforts are made to enhance service considering the ground realities. The need of the hour is for all the stake holders to join force and strengthen our endeavour to save future generations from the clutches of drugs rather than indulging in vague self righteous claims to further the interest of few. Here, DRUM-P would also like to note that the forum won’t tolerate any misconduct detrimental to the rights of clients or violation of the ‘terms and conditions’ laid down by the forum.
Meanwhile, in a bid to bring about a uniform service and to avoid irregularities including instances of violation of service seeker’s rights at private rehabilitation centres, DRUM-P in consultation with experts will implement the already developed ‘terms and conditions’ to be followed by each member rehabilitation centres from the month of August 2019 and the same will be highlighted in the public domain. DRUM-P also wholeheartedly welcomes any suggestion and constructive criticism to reinforce our commitment to provide effective service.