To further improve the retention rate of treatment mechanism at OOAT (Outpatient Opiod Assisted Treatment) clinics and Government De-addiction Centres, the State Government is all set to commence ‘Take Home Dose’ service which is free of cost under the De-Addiction Programme. It was disclosed here today in press communiqué by the Health & Family Welfare Minister Punjab Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu.
The Health Minister said that Punjab Government is operating the 35 Government Drug De-addiction Centres and 181 OOAT Clinics which are providing De-addiction treatment facilities to more than 100000 patients in the State.
He said that it has been observed that coming daily at OOAT Clinic to complete the treatment course of one & half year is so difficult for many patients. Also, it affects the retention rate of treatment.
The Health Minister further said that it is matter of concern that daily around 500 to 600 patients visit OOAT Clinics for getting treatment where as many patients have dropped out just because of non- availability of provision of Take Home Dose.
In the aftermath of programme and to strengthen the treatment mechanism at OOAT Clinics, it was decided by the State Government to initiate Take Home Dose of Buprenorphine-Naloxone medicine under de-addiction programme.
Notably, Buprenorphine-Naloxone medicine is largely used in the world for the treatment of Opiod addiction and approved by the World Health Organisation under the de-adiction programme.
Mr.Balbir Singh Sidhu added that besides the Government institutes, Private Psychiatrist Clinics would soon be permitted to provide ‘Take Home Dose Service’ for De-addiction treatment but first, they have to register at Central Registry online Portal of OOAT Clinics.
He said that as of now, more than 1.5 lakh patients are being treated by Private Centres and it is expected that this new mechanism will definitely galvanise the patients to get rid of the addiction menace and also increase the foot fall in the Government and Private drug de-addiction institutes.
He said that State Government is continuously working on the remedy system and volunteers of buddy programme are daily visiting the educational institutions and villages to spread awareness among the youth about the ill effects of habit making drugs and opiod. He said that with the tireless efforts of the State Government, lacs of patients came to the OOAT Clinics for getting treatment out of their own free will.
He further clarified that SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Private Psychiatrists regarding prescription of medicine is same as applicable to the Private De-addiction Centres.
He said that further extending the ‘Take Home Dose Service’ in the wider interest of Public, now against the prescription of Private Psychiatrists and Private De-addiction Centres, the medicine shall soon be dispensed from Pharmacy of Govt. De-addiction centres and OOAT clinics at fixed rate of Rs. 60/- per strip of ten tablets of Buprenorphine-Naloxone, which is almost approximately 10 times cheaper than Private De-addiction centres. He said that this facility will curb the huge expenditure on the pockets of patients.
Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu added that all user charges collected at Government De-addiction Centres will be deposited with the State Mental Health Authority. This money will be utilized for strengthening of De-addiction and rehabilitation Services. He said that the Punjab Health System Corporation will procure and ensure the supply of Medicine.
The Minister has also made it clear that dispensing of take home dose on prescription of Govt. Psychiatrists shall be free of cost and on prescription of Private Psychiatrists, it will be available at the rates notified by the Government.
He reiterated that all Psychiatrists (whether Govt or Private) must be registered with Central Registry Portal of Govt. for the purpose of prescribing Buprenorphine-Naloxone medicine. Dispensing of medicine will be strictly through online portal only.
Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu also said that monitoring of Registered Patients and Medicine dispensed is being done through Government Central Registry Portal to ensure patients’ follow up and to rationalise the medicine dispensation.