Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, the CEO of Sovereign Health, writes about one of the hotspots in the state of Punjab where more than 830,000 young men between the ages of 15 and 35 take drugs, especially heroin, opium, and other synthetic drugs that are more powerful and deadly compared to common street drugs.
India witnessed a 455% increase in drug busts and has grown exponentially in four years from 2011 to 2013. According to a 2015 report from the Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the country’s vicinity to the significant opium-producing regions of Southwest and Southeast Asia are the prime locations for transit, trafficking, and consumption of illegal drugs.
Drug use across Delhi
As stated by Dr. Sharma, the main contributor to the increasing rate is India’s lack of professional drug treatment facilities. There are only five drug rehabilitation centers partly funded by the government and managed by non-government organizations. Moreover, children became more addicted to heroin or opium at ages 12 and 13 with the overgrowing drug use in Delhi.
According to experts, treatment is a combination of medical and therapeutic approaches. However, a report from the Economic Times Health World indicates that approximately 70% of addiction treatment centers in India do not have the necessary treatment and care facilities needed for a successful recovery from drug addiction. The country also faces a shortage of long-stay homes that help patients to recover and maintain sobriety before being released into the same environment where they became addicted.
Addiction treatment requires staffing around the clock to ensure patient’s comfort, safety, and successful recovery. Detoxification alone can take weeks and needs intensive and prolonged care to avoid relapses which would require a team of qualified caregivers to help them manage the mental and physical fallout for the treatment to be effective for every patient. The patients would also need follow-ups to decrease the risk of relapse once they are discharged from the facilities.
In the article “The Long Reach of Drug Addiction in India,” Dr. Sharma stated that drug addiction costs lives and billions in lost productivity. It tears apart families, communities and can destroy economies. He added that addiction is not a moral failing or a lack of willpower on behalf of the addict. Instead, drugs change the brain in ways that make it nearly impossible to stop using. Up to 60% of drug users have a co-occurring mental health condition. People who are addicted cannot quit on their own; they need evidence-based, specialized care from qualified professionals that focus on their physical symptoms and mental issues.
A plea concluded the said article to the Indian government officials to critically consider the lack of professional addiction treatment centers before losing more generations to the scourge of drugs. “Drug use is steadily increasing. Research has proven that people who are addicted need evidence-based treatment that uses a variety of approaches.” The CEO stated. He mentioned that patients also need follow-up after being released from treatment to decrease the risk of relapse.
Tonmoy Sharma and his hope for the future
Dr. Sharma has been recognized with numerous awards, honors, and grants to advance mental health and its treatment in the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia. He is a prolific researcher and scientist, with more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and five books on schizophrenia and mental disease to his credit. Dr. Sharma has worked on several editorial boards, as a peer reviewer for 14 international medical journals, and as a member of multiple antipsychotic advisory committees.
He presently co-hosts KABC 790 AM’s “In Your Right Mind,” a cutting-edge weekly radio show covering numerous behavioral health issues, and was named to the OCBJ’s OC500 list as one of Orange County’s most influential individuals in 2016.
Presenting on MBC at conferences and community events across the country, Dr. Sharma foresees that clinicians and the public will embrace MBC as the highly successful, evidence-based treatment that is the best approach to treating addiction and mental health issues.
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health is a network of detox and behavioral health treatment institutions that have earned Gold Seal certification from the Joint Commission. According to the independent eBASIS report from McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, the firm routinely ranks as a top provider of behavioral health services. In McLean’s quarterly reports for 2016, Sovereign has surpassed 50 other treatment centers nationwide in several necessary health care measures.
The facilities of Sovereign Health are licensed in compliance with state rules. The Joint Commission is the nation’s top healthcare standards-setting and accreditation institution, and earning the Gold Seal certification requires exceedingly high criteria. Sovereign’s vast nationwide network of nine sites in five states is also accredited to provide concurrent mental health and substance use treatment, a rare occurrence in the sector.
The objective of Sovereign Health is to provide a wide range of high-quality mental health treatment services for adults and adolescents and family support.