ISLAMABAD: An inspection team of the Islamabad Health Regulatory Authority (IHRA) has been shocked to see the abysmal situation of drug rehabilitation and psychiatry centres in the federal capital and people being treated there.

The authority started the inspection in the wake of Noor Mukadam case wherein the alleged killer was associated with a known therapy and drug rehabilitation centre, which was later sealed by the district administration.

Talking to Dawn, IHRA Chief Executive Officer Dr Quaid Saeed revealed that in most of the centres there were two patients on each of the beds and medicines, which could not be given for more than 40 days, were being given for up to six months. A unique case was also reported in which a son admitted his father at a rehab centre before going to the United Kingdom.

Moreover, two centres located in Chak Shahzad and Banigala have been sealed.

However, the administration of these centres had been given five days to arrange for sending the patients to their respective towns.

Dr Quaid Saeed said that after Noor Mukadam case it was decided to inspect all the rehabilitation centres in the federal capital.

“We prepared a checklist with the support of some psychiatrists and inspection was started from Chak Shahzad and Banigala where around 18 centres are located. There were two patients on each bed in most of the centres,” he said.

“Three to four anti-psychiatric drugs were being given to each of the patients due to which they were having physiological issues. Some of the patients were getting overdose of medicines for last six months,” he said.

Dr Saeed said though a patient could not be confined for over 40 days, in some cases they were kept in the same room for up to six months.

“Those centres with iron bars have practically been turned into jails and people are locked there. So, we have decided to seal two centres in Banigala and Chak Shahzad. Moreover, warning has been issued to two other centres,” he said.

The IHRA CEO said that in one case it was revealed that a son had admitted his father to a centre before going to the United Kingdom.

“The elderly man (father of person who went to UK) told us that he was kept in the company of drug addicts and it was most annoying thing for him to stay there. In another case, a person was not being released as his family failed to pay the fee. When the patient’s younger brother visited the centre to get his brother released, the management also locked his brother in a room as well,” he said.

Dr Saeed requested not to mention names of the centres as with limited financial and human resources it would be difficult for the authority to tackle litigation. “However, we will continue our inspection and all the centres having the environment of jail will be sealed,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2021

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