The Ministry of Home Affairs has directed all drug users' treatment and rehabilitation centres to obtain affiliation from it mandatorily for their operation.

Issuing a notice, the MoHA warned that some treatment and rehabilitation centres were found to be operating without affiliation. As per the MoHA, any organisation or business firm wishing to operate treatment and rehabilitation centres shall be required to obtain affiliation from it prior to its operation in line with Section 4 of Procedure related to Operation of Drug Users' Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres.

"In order to obtain affiliation, the organisation or business firm shall submit to the MoHA an application along with a copy of registration certification and tax clearance certificate, Articles of Association, map of the site where the treatment and rehabilitation centre is established and recommendation letter of the District Administration concerned," the notice said.

The MoHA warned that any organisation or business firm operating treatment and rehabilitation centre without obtaining affiliation would be brought to book as per the existing law. A total of 240 organisations or business firms have obtained affiliation to operate treatment and rehabilitation centre so far, according to the MoHA. Dozens of others have yet to acquire it to fulfil legal requirements.

The MoHA has issued the procedure for rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users into society in a more effective and systematic way. The treatment and rehabilitation centres will not only provide medical services for reduction of negative impacts caused by drugs and alcohol, but also conduct skill-based training and counselling for their integration into society without fear of stigmatisation.

"Only drug users recommended by a certified doctor shall be entitled to enrolment in the centres. The centres shall provide services to at least 25 per cent of drug users free of charge, as recommended by the government authorities on the basis of their economic condition," read the procedure. In the case of drug users other than those recommended by the government authorities, the centres may collect reasonable fees from service-seekers so that it won't exceed the amount fixed by the MoHA.

There is a district coordination and monitoring committee led by the CDO concerned for coordination and monitoring of these centres. If any drug user undergoing treatment is physically or mentally harmed due to negligence of the centre, it shall be liable to pay compensation to the victim.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 31, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.