TODAY -

International Overdose Awareness Day observed
Provision of drug overdose treatment in health care centres pressed

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 31 2011: Manipur Drug Users Forum (MDUF) and Recovery Alliance- a community based group of drug users supported by MNP+ observed the 11th International Overdose Awareness Day today at Thau Ground, Thangmeiband where drug users of the state urged the government to provide drug overdose treatment in all government health care centres in Manipur.

Speaking on the occasion, Col (Retd), RK Rajendro and human rights activist said that the energy of the youth need to be channelized properly to prevent drug abuse.

"The government, NGOs and civil society organisations, must ensure that live saving drugs like Naloxone are easily accessible", he added.

Y Shasikumar Singh, General Secretary, SASO, said that drug overdose continues to claim precious lives every year in Manipur.

In 2004 when SASO started assessing overdose cases, they realised the increasing seriousness of the issue and the absence of any initiative or services to address it.

In 2004 SASO came across four OD cases out of which two could be saved.

From 2004 to 2010 SASO registered 323 overdose cases out of which 12 were females, and 17 died despite receiving treatment.

In 2011 January alone there were 25 OD cases.

Till August end this year 242 cases were registered out of which four persons died.

In February 2010 SASO raised the issue during a high-level meeting of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in New Delhi.

The need for including overdose treatment in existing Targeted Intervention programmes in the state was highlighted, he said.

It may be mentioned here that Naloxone is a drug used to counter the effects of opiate overdose, for example heroin or morphine overdose.

Naloxone is specifically used to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system.

He further went on to say that there could be a number of unreported cases of overdose and deaths.

Very recently, on August 28, a drug user died of overdose at North AOC.

"Besides providing Naloxone, steps should be taken up to treat critical cases arising out of overdose" .

He further said that normally when a drug user relapses after a period of abstinence, he tends to take the same quantity of drug that he was taking earlier thereby causing overdose.

During abstinence the body has learnt to function without drugs.

In a number of cases drug cocktailing and adulteration also caused overdose and death.

Validating this view L Deepak, President, Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+), said that despite 19 DICs supported by Project ORCHID providing Naloxone in the state, people continue to die of overdose due to a host of factors like DIC timings, lack of awareness, stigma and discrimination.

While urging the government to provide overdose treatment in health care centres throughout the state he also appealed the drug user community to initiate steps to keep Naloxone within reach.

In March 2011 a chemist in Imphal East fraudulently sold an ampoule of Naloxone at '5,000 rupee to a drug user who overdosed.

N Moti, General Secretary, Future Development Drug Users Organisation (FDDUO), said, "Often chemists exploit a distress situation and charge whatever amount they want.

In the March incident the patient had to be given three doses of Naloxone each costing 5,000 rupees" .

As a part of the observation a silent rally was organised starting from Thau Ground and concluding at the office of the Social Welfare Dept.

The International Overdose Awareness Day was started in 2000 in response to the overwhelming increase in heroin overdoses.The day is observed to honour those who have died and their loved ones and to bring attention to this public health crisis.


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