Thousands of people who use drugs (PWUD) in India benefit from harm reduction services. There are over 150 NGO-operated Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) centres in the country. In addition, OST services in government hospitals have recently been scaled-up, and methadone treatment is now an option in five major cities.

While developments such as these in drug treatment and harm reduction are positive steps, the situation sadly remains grim. Minimum standards exist for private treatment centres, but these standards primarily reflect a centre’s infrastructure. Simply put: Good infrastructure does not amount to quality care. Good infrastructure does not translate to good counselling or necessary attention to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the crux – any user’s worst nightmare – and the failure of treatment centres to take care of withdrawal symptoms can and often does undermine the detox process.

If we do not receive proper care, we lose all trust.

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