Times of India – US Sikh doctor to steer CM Amarinder Singh’s anti-drug drive

Rohan Dua 6 May 2017

Chandigarh-Punjab-India, 6 May 2017. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is banking on a 50-cent a day drug antidote therapy, proffered by an US-based Sikh psychiatrist Kanwarjit Singh Sidhu, to curb the drug problem in the state. The issue is said to be one the reasons behind the fall of the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government in the state.

Sidhu, who has been curing nearly 300 drug addicts every week in Virgina, will be roped in to launch the WHO-recommended Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) instead of the commonly used buprenorphone with a combination drug naloxone-buprenorphone.

Used alone, Naloxone is the standard antidote used in the US for tackling drug overdose patients and saving their lives.

The duration of the naloxone-based antidote will be four months though the overall treatment will go on for a year. “The dose of this antidote will be set according to the metabolism and addiction of the patient, ranging from 4 mg to 16 mg,” said Sidhu, a certified addiction psychiatrist from American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Besides, the addict will undergo urine drug screening every week. Four strips for this screening will cost Rs 15, making it an annual expenditure of around Rs 3,000.

This antidote will be able to counter addiction of opiod-based drugs such as heroin, chitta, opium, bhukki and tramadol. However, it will not cover crystal meth, the synthetic drug caught in the Rs 6,000-crore drug racket.

The model is based on three-phase therapy which includes harm reduction (substitute antidote therapy; counselling and peer support and termination of medication.

The de-addiction model does not warrant patient stay at any hospital and the addicts can opt for therapy as outpatients at primary health care centres (PHCs).

A rehabilitation of a drug patient in Punjab usualy costs Rs 2-3 lakh a year per bed, but this treatment is cheaper. “In this model, the market prices will be Rs 17,000 and government rates will be Rs 9,000-Rs 10,000 in India,” says Sidhu.



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