From the moment Hermitage was started as a drug rehab center in Amritsar, a holy city which had been flooded with drugs recently, The Hermitage and its founder Dr JPS Bhatia have received considerable international media acclaim as one of the top addiction treatment centers in North India.
Punjab health and family welfare principal secretary Vini Mahajan inaugurated the state’s first drug rehabilitation centre for women in Amritsar on Sunday.
Inside Punjab's first women's rehab clinic: How female addicts are flocking to treatment centres as drug menace claims new victims
Those who once fought for the lives of their husbands and brothers are now fighting for themselves. Whether in colleges, universities, or homes - women are using hard drugs openly.
It was love at first sight for Roopinder (name changed). A new job in Chandigarh brought her freedom and the attention of a man she had begun to trust. Her boyfriend introduced her to alcohol and cigarettes. To blend in and please the man she loved, Roopinder took to smoking and drinking, till she couldn’t do without them anymore. Much against the wishes of her family, she married him after a brief courtship.
According to Dr Bhatia, Punjab is now waking up to the problem, and beginning to understand how to treat it. "They say that growth always comes from a crisis , and so as we have a crisis situation here in Punjab there is growth also. We can be very positive that things are moving in the right direction."
"The first thing to understand is that drug addiction is a disease and can be cured. The patients, who come here, have not made a conscious choice of drug abuse, but to come out of it. Every week we have families of drug addicts under recovery come and share their experiences only to form a chain that will act as a mental deterrent for drug abuse," says Vishal, who is under recovery from last four years now and has taken up counseling of the new patients.
This Hermitage is being run under the guidance of Dr J. P. S. Bhatia, for the past 15 years. The wards of the drug addicts are guarded by a unique security system. Besides providing medical treatment to the drug addicts, the center offers counselling, which is integral part of the recovery
Chhabria's success with rTMS inspired Amritsar-based psychiatrist Dr JPS Bhatia to start the treatment in his clinic. He has administered rTMS to nearly 100 patients, with a success rate close to 80 per cent. One of his patients, a 23-year-old, was afraid to leave his house as he feared he would get aggressive and beat someone up. "He was obsessed with certain religious rituals, which he would perform a thousand times a day.
Whenever he was out on the road, he would feel compelled to repeat certain gestures which would embarrass him and those around him. He had to quit studies because of the disorder, " says Bhatia. "With the help of rTMS, he now leads a normal life and is completing graduation. "
Addicted Punjabi NRIs are making a beeline back to their home state for de-addiction treatment. The state-of-the-art technology available at economical rates at de-addiction centers in Punjab has ensured that NRIs settled in Canada and the UK look back home for de-addiction treatment like in Amritsar-based Bhatia Neuropsychiatric Hospital and Neuro Pain center, The Hermitage.
Dr. J.P.S. Bhatia (MD), Psychiatrist, Amritsar is the Vice President of Indian Association of Mental Health counseling at Guru Nanak Dev University. Vice Chancellor,Guru NanakDev university Prof Ajaib Singh Brar and Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu, the Senior Fulbright–Nehru Research Scholar from the United States have taken the initiative to launch Indian Association of Mental Health Counsellors at the Guru Nanak Dev University to meet the mental health needs of our people.
"It's as if we're sitting on a time bomb that can explode any time," Dr. J.P.S. Bhatia, who operates a rehabilitation clinic in the city of Amritsar, told BBC. "It [the rate of addiction] is definitely on the rise, and it is increasing so much that the scenario at the moment is that of an epidemic".
Bhatia suggests that the prosperity, Punjab is renowned for (at least prior to the recent economic sluggishness) may be part of the problem. "The middle class and the affluent are the worst victims of this [drug] crisis," he said.
"They are not laborers who don't have to worry about getting up in the mornings. They can sit at home taking heroin, while someone else does their work." Punjab also has a very macho culture, very prone to consumerism, violence and showing off.
“We are very close to Afghanistan and Pakistan, so being a transit area, the transit point has always been Punjab. But now the major part of it is being consumed in Punjab itself,” said Dr. JPS Bhatia, who is running a drug rehabilitation center in Amritsar for the past 20 years.
Addicted Punjabi NRIs are making a beeline back to their home state for de-addiction treatment. The state-of-the-art technology available at economical rates at de-addiction centres in Punjab has ensured that NRIs settled in Canada and the UK look back home for de-addiction treatment like in Amritsar-based Bhatia Neuropsychiatric Hospital and Neuro Pain Centre, The Hermitage.