GUWAHATI, Oct 16 - Alcohol and drug abuse among women has always been considered as a taboo subject, rarely talked about in public domain. But now, with the trend becoming more and more conspicuous, Assam is on the verge of having its first ever de-addiction and rehabilitation centre meant only for women.
In fact, citing the rising instances of women falling prey to alcoholism and substance abuse in Assam, a Guwahati-based NGO has written to the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment asking the latter to facilitate setting up a special de-addiction centre in Guwahati in the line of the ones in Manipur and Nagaland.
The State Government, too, has backed the move, reasoning that the problem of alcoholism, which is traditionally associated with men, has fast taken the women population in its grip.
A senior government official told this reporter that although there are centres for men in various parts of Assam, including Guwahati, the need for a dedicated centre for women, who usually find it difficult to speak about it in public, has always been felt.
The Committee on Socio-Economic and Health Development, Assam (COSEHDA), the NGO that has written to the Centre asking for a de-addiction centre for women, said that the plan is to encourage women to come out of such addictive practices without worrying about the social stigma or any such apprehensions.
�Although there is no statistics available, it is a worrying fact that addiction among women, more so related to alcohol consumption, has been on the rise. And to cater to the need of those in distress, we have written to the Ministry,� Dr Sondeep Hanse of COSEHDA told this reporter.
Dr Hanse said that the plan is to have a dedicated staff of women counsellors as well.
Deepak Saini of Kripa Foundation, one of the better known centres working on de-addiction, said that the problem is getting serious day by day.
�Be it the abuse related to heroin, alcohol or injectable drug abuse, the number of such women is certainly on the rise,� said Saini.
Lun Gangte, house leader of ASHA Bhawan located in Silpukhuri area, which had provided counselling to women suffering from substance abuse from 2005-2010 in Guwahati but had to shift the facility to Dimapur after that, said, �Be it men and women, the maximum number of cases that came to us were related to alcohol addiction. We still come across such cases.�
A senior Health Department official, when contacted said, �The rehab centres under the government set-up is virtually non-functional as they do not have the right infrastructure or adequate staff to provide quality service. The government, however, is planning an overhaul.�