Destitutes left helpless with no govt de-addiction centre

Twenty five-year-old Salman, who has been living on the streets since his childhood, gets up everyday with a vow to quit drugs. But is unable to keep his resolve and falls prey to bad company.

“I want to quit but I am not able to find any government-run de-addiction centres,” says Salman, who lives on Hanuman Road.

NGOs working for the homeless say dependence on drugs by destitutes has increased as there are no government-run de-addiction centres in Delhi.

“We have been demanding de-addiction centres for the homeless since long. Also, the city government should have a programme on de-addiction. It will help homeless people,” said Indu Prakash Singh, Executive Committee Member, Shahri Adhikar Manch: Begharon Ke Saath. “We have moved court regarding the issue.”

Recently, the Delhi High Court asked the city government to file an affidavit giving details of the number of government-run de-addiction centres in the capital. It has fixed April 23 as the next date of hearing.

Some non-profit organisations run four or five such centres, but destitutes can’t afford even the low daily fee that they charge.

An NGO, Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses, runs two such centres – one at Sewa Kutir juvenile observation home in Kingsway Camp and the other at Vasant Kunj. 

“We have not been given any aid in terms of funds by the government. Only the electricity is free at the centre at Kingsway Camp. At the other we don’t get any homeless people as they can’t afford the treatment,” said Rajesh Kumar, Executive Director of SPYM.

According to the Department of Women and Child Development, there is only one de-addiction centre at Kingsway Camp for all juvenile delinquents across the city. 

“The centre at Sewa Kutir is also not run by the government. There is an urgent need for such de-addiction centres as the boys between 10 and 18 years are prone to start using drugs at this crucial phase of their lives,” said Premoday Khakha, Additional Director of Department of Women and Child Development.

AIIMS has a department to deal with cases of drug abuse; even the Institute Of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital treat such cases.

“If one goes to a hospital and gets treated, there are chances of relapse when he comes back to the same community. So we need crisis management centre in a community,” Khakha added.

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