The consumption of narcotics, injected drugs and ganja is increasing in the city of Visakhapatnam. The unfortunate thing is that young students get addicted, but it’s too late when their parents find out about it.
It is the responsibility of parents and other family members to look out for changes in their children’s behavior, particularly college students exposed to such influences, and to assess their mental health, apart from seeking professional help. Intervening in time can save lives.
“The Center for Psychological Diagnostics and Counseling at Andhra University receives two to three cases per week for counseling and treatment. The majority of those who come to our center are engineering and law students, in addition to some students who have studied in Russia and have returned, ”Center Director MVR Raju told The Hindu.
“The irregular classes and relaxation at some colleges give a lot of freedom and make some students think about new ways to kill time. Frequent arguments among parents, and sometimes parents’ insistence on a certain course that students do not like, cause stress and anxiety in teenagers as well. The easy availability of ganja through a network of suppliers and online links is convenient for them to get used to, ”he says.
“The problem starts with the victim becoming disinterested in interacting with others, leading to emotional problems, damage to mental health, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and schizophrenia. Our center treats patients through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), education, social support and family help and aversion therapy, ”says Prof. Raju.
The city’s Government Hospital for Mental Care (GHMC) is the only tertiary mental health care hospital in Andhra Pradesh. It has qualified psychiatrists and the necessary facilities to handle such cases.
The Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) Center, inaugurated on January 6, 2020 at the GHMC, is a blessing for those addicted to injected drugs. The center has a psychiatrist, data manager, counselor, and nurse who look after the patients. Most of the patients treated in the OST are fully cured and are now leading normal lives.
From January to December 2020, 124 people had registered for treatment with OST, up from 165 by the end of November 2021. However, there was a decline in new registrations in 2021 due to patient fears due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Visiting hospitals.