HYDERABAD: While it has come to light that students of several top schools and colleges across Hyderabad are consuming drugs, what comes as a shock is the lack of de-addiction or rehabilitation centres in the city for these minors. If officials of the Telangana Prohibition and Excise department are to be believed, hundreds of youngsters, some as young as 13, are indulging in substance abuse. While the state-run Institute of Medical Health (IMH) has just 20 beds at its de-addiction centre, the private rehabilitation centres have rarely dealt with children addicted to psychotropic drugs.
Dr Uma Shanker, superintendent, IMH informed that no cases of addiction to hard drugs have been reported at IMH. Most of the cases are that involving adults addicted to alcohol. “Those who take psychotropic drugs can very well afford private treatment and usually do not come to us,” he added.
Hope Trust, a city-based rehabilitation centre, also does not admit youngsters under 18 unless it is confirmed that the youth has a serious mental health disorder caused by substance abuse. “We encourage them to enrol in our outpatient programmes for a minimum of two months. There are two or three sessions a week,” said Dr Prasad VA, medical officer and therapy in-charge at Hope Trust. The out-patient programme costs Rs 4,500, he added. If they need continued assistance, every added session will cost around Rs 700. These sessions also include therapy for parents to check if the environment is conducive or enabling the child to inculcate this kind of behaviour.
“Parents also need a guided understanding about identifying a child’s psyche. If the child is addicted, they are put off the drugs for 72 to 96 hours and kept under observation. Depending on the withdrawal symptoms, intervention is planned,” said Prasad.
The city has, in the last two years, seen an increase in the number of Ganja abuse cases. According to O Arvind Reddy, a psychologist with Disha Rehabilitation Centre in LB Nagar, most of the Ganja smokers fall in the age group of 19 and 24. “The in-house treatment we have been following at Disha includes intensive counselling that addresses behavioural issues and costs around `15,000. Out-patient guidance and monitoring costs depends on the level of addiction,” informed Reddy.