KOCHI: The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data has revealed that Kerala is in third spot in registration of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances(NDPS) Act.
While a mere Google search shows over 200 de-addiction centres are being run by various foundations, trusts and NGOs in Kerala, the KMHA records show only four of them are licenced.
Though the number of drug and alcohol addicts has been on the rise in the state which enjoyed a revenue of `9,803.45 crore from liquor sales by Bevco in 2015-16 alone, the governments, one after the other, failed in formulating a comprehensive policy for de-addiction and regulations for the de-addiction centres which mint money by offering a way out including witchcraft, sorcery and obsolete behavioural therapy.
KMHA secretary Dr Jayaprakash K P is totally against such unscientific procedures being followed by rehabilitation centres.
"Addiction is a psychic disorder and it should be scientifically treated with the help of medicine and professional counselling by academically-qualified psychologists. In Kerala, de-addiction programmes run by various private centres are a channel for siphoning off grants," said Jayaprakash.
"It's a fact that many de-addiction centres don't have valid approval from the state government. Several of them start running a centre immediately after applying for a licence. While hospitals with psychiatry department have been given exception to run de-addiction centres without seeking separate licence, other centres operate under the cover of an approval obtained from the Social Justice Department," he said.
Jayaprakash hopes the new Mental Health Care Act 2017 passed by the Centre will hope streamline things, but many officers do not have an answer.