Guwahati: The state government had declared about a year ago that a Standard of Procedure (SOP) would be issued for the drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centers in the state, but nothing has emerged as yet. The centers are operating at their own whim, and several untoward incidents have taken place, including the deaths of under-treatment inmates.
Three days ago, the death of an inmate was reported at a drug rehab centre in Tinsukia's Kakopathar area. According to reports, the inmate had suddenly become ill and was taken for treatment to a hospital, where he died. Family members alleged that the treatment at the hospital was started without informing them of their ward's condition.
Last July, an inmate undergoing rehabilitation at a centre in Guwahati died. Again in October, an inmate in another drug rehabilitation centre in Guwahati complained that he had been physically assaulted.
In the last year, after receiving complaints, the authorities carried out inspections at several rehab centers and found that they were operating without a clinical licence and other necessary requirements. The state government had announced that a SOP would be issued to streamline the rehab centers. A draft SOP, after discussions with the authorities concerned, was also prepared, but it has yet to get approval from the government.
Sources said the centers should abide by certain rules and regulations, like having trained medical personnel to counsel drug addicts. The counselling should be done without using force, but family members usually complain of the ill treatment and physical torture of their wards in the name of counselling them. Many of the centers also lack the basic amenities, including a hygienic atmosphere, sufficient space, clean toilets, etc. There is also a rule that more than two inmates cannot be accommodated in a room of 100 square feet. In the case of washrooms, there should be one washroom for every seven inmates, as stipulated.
Many drug and alcohol addicts sometimes have other diseases like AIDS, hepatitis B and C, etc. As per norms, addicts with such diseases cannot be treated at rehab centers.
There are around 300 rehab centers in the state, and 90 are in Guwahati itself, sources said. But most of them are being run without adequate facilities due to the absence of SOP.