By Vijay Simha
In Part One
of this short trilogy, High in India, we looked at the nature and scale of deaths by drinking. In Part Two
, we looked at why self-help groups seem to be struggling. In this concluding part, we take stock of rehabs in India.
The first recorded thought of deaddiction centres for humans was – don't fall off – in 1784.
Benjamin Rush, a Founding Father of the United States, studied alcohol in his capacity as Surgeon General of George Washington's Continental Army.
Rush's work put together the concept of alcoholism as a form of medical disease. He said alcoholics should be weaned from their addiction by the use of less potent substances.
It is considered the first use of the term addiction.
Rush suggested cold baths and total abstinence as treatment – which is [incredibly] followed in several rehabs in India and elsewhere even today.
He proposed the construction of detoxification establishments, asylums, and what he called 'sober houses', where 'regular offenders would be shut up until cured.'
Rush was thus the first human to put together the concept of rehabs.
About 229 years later, in India [the world's second-most populous nation], the state of rehabs is a concern.
India is readying afresh to battle addiction to alcohol and other drugs although it doesn't yet know how exactly to do it.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the newest to join battle. A rehab centre began in Port Blair soon after the 2004 tsunami.
Jammu and Kashmir, otherwise difficult to access for the average Indian, is a growing market for drugs. It has more than one rehab.
All states and union territories in India [barring, maybe, only the very small like Daman & Diu] have at least one drugs rehab.
How are they doing?Image: Benjamin Rush painted by Charles Wilson Peale, c. 1818.
Images: Wikipedia/ AFPText: Sify