Community-based organisations working in the field of drugs and HIV/AIDS as well as non-funded drug treatment centres operating in Manipur on Wednesday demanded specific guidelines for private drug rehabilitation centres in the state.
The need for a state specific guidelines for private drug rehabilitation centres has been a long standing demand, said a representative of a private rehabilitation centre, Sagolsem Herojit during a press meet held at the Hotel Classic Grande in Imphal.
He said that a consultation in this regard was organised by the Manipur State legal Services Authority (MASLSA) way back in 2017 that recommended setting a local specific standard guidelines to be followed in private-run treatment centres.
He also informed that a formulation of a state specific guidelines for non-funded private rehabilitation centres was also reflected in the Manipur State Policy on Psychoactive Substance, 2019 which was published as the state gazette on December 21, 2020.
Moreover, the High Court of Manipur had issued an order on July 21, 2020 directing the state government to frame a regulatory guideline for non-funded private centres within a period of three months, he added.
This made the formulation of the state specific guideline an obligation of the state government, he said, adding that the Social Welfare department remained indifferent towards its duties to frame the guidelines in spite of various appeals and representations submitted to the authority concerned.
In contradiction, the state government published a notification dated December 2, 2020 stating that all the private rehabilitation centres in the state will be regulated and get registered under the department of Social Welfare and shall conform to the prescribed ‘Minimum Standards of Services for the Programme under the Scheme for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse 2009’ formulated by MSJE, added Herojit.
He said that such acts of the Social Welfare department imposing a guideline meant for funded rehabilitation centres under a central government scheme on non-funded private drug treatment centres cannot be accepted by the private drug rehabilitation centres of Manipur.
Herojit explained that the government funded centres received an amount of Rs 21,69,600 annually while the non-funded treatment centres relied solely on the meagre monthly fees from the patients which is approximately Rs 6,500 per month.
Prior to the press conference, a consultative meeting on suitable guidelines for private rehabilitation centers was organised by representatives of private rehabilitation centres, where representatives from 58 private de-addiction centres took part in it.
During the meeting, it expressed the need of reflecting the networking and resource mobilisation among relevant state and civil stakeholders in framing the guidelines for the private centres.
It also expressed the need for reflection, grievance redressal, monitoring and evaluation and establishment of a state research and training centre.
The meeting also resolved that the state should organise an interim training centre or body in its initial stage and exploration of innovative treatment approaches by exploring the ground realities of drug use trends in the state.