Madurai

A de-addiction centre for conservancy workers

Inmates playing carrom at the drug and alcohol de-addiction centre at Arapalayam.

Inmates playing carrom at the drug and alcohol de-addiction centre at Arapalayam.   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

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It provides free consultation, medication and treatment

M.S. Chellamuthu Trust, an NGO focusing on mental health, and Madurai Corporation have started a drug and alcohol de-addiction centre at Arapalayam here in an effort to prioritise physical and mental health of conservancy workers.

The centre, inaugurated on October 8, provided free consultation, medication and treatment without any bed charges to anyone who voluntarily joins the programme, said trust founder Dr. C. Ramasubramanian. He said this centre would serve different people, including those from Sellur and Narimedu, where drug abuse was noticed more.

Though located close to a busy traffic roundabout, the centre, which also had outpatient facility, offered peace and quietness to the inmates. A psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker and a nurse had been stationed at the centre. All the doctors at Urban Primary Health Centres had been trained in dealing with drug and alcohol addicts, said Dr. Ramasubramanian.

“For years, we have said the nature of work is harsh for conservancy workers. Most of them earn daily wages that are just enough to feed their families. The job stress and low wages often drive them towards substances prior to going to work,” said Dr. Ramasubramanian.

He added that the centre offered a seven-day preliminary rehabilitation programme that included counselling for the families. “Addicts wish to live a dignified life after their initial visit to the centre. For those who are not intensely addicted to alcohol and drugs, the seven-day programme is sufficient. Those severely addicted will be referred to Trishul – an integrated rehabilitation centre for addicts run by the trust – for a 21-day programme. This too is completely free as the centre receives funding from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,” he said.

Families would be paid special attention as they too would be psychologically affected, he said. He added that they had set up an Alcoholics Anonymous facility specially for Corporation workers.

Dr. Ramasubramanian said former Corporation Commissioner Sandeep Nanduri approved the project during his term and the present incumbent, S. Visakan, provided all infrastructure for the project.

City Health Officer (in-charge) S. Vinoth Raja said the primary reason for beginning the project was to ensure that conservancy workers got benefited and the stigma attached to addiction was reduced. “We are attempting to create awareness that addiction is curable,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:36:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/a-de-addiction-centre-for-conservancy-workers-madurai/article29871537.ece

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