SANSKAR - Targeted intervention for injecting drug users

This programme was implemented to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS among Persons who Inject Drugs at greater Guwahati extending from Baihata Chariali to Byrnihat in Assam and Meghalaya border. The project was rolled out during 2006 and approximately 807 Injecting Drug Users were identified and out of which 680 were found to be active drug users. Although most of them know about safe injecting technique but all of them had shared needle syringe with their peers at one or other point of their lives. One of the major cause of death among injecting drug users is overdose with opioid substances.

One of the major achievements of the project has been the rise in awareness level amongst the high risk community and general population regarding the problem of HIV/AIDS and risk free behaviors. High risk populations together with IDUs were given proper counseling and treatment at our ngo clinic and medicine given as per requirement.

The project has traversed through different stages of National AIDS Control Program III and IV and has witnessed persistent improvement with innovations and addition of new activities.

Drug use and Youth of Assam
The abuse of drugs in adolescence can be considered as a parameter to judge the level of social and personal threat in the current society. The abuse of drugs generates secondary problems ranging from innate toxicity to socially destructive behavior. The drug comes to be perceived by adolescents as problem-solving activity. Youthful drug abuse is a behavioral disorder and should be managed in this perspective. The use of opiates chiefly involves heroin, which has been used extensively in recent years by the young groups of adolescents. The opioid use exceeds that of other drugs and physical dependency is most likely follow. Numerous other psychotropic substances have been used by the young people in their search for recreation, and relief from stress, including solvents, hairsprays, deodorants, fuels, cleansing fluids, and many stimulants, sedatives and analgesics available without prescription or not under strict legal control. The ultimate game of the adolescent drug user is a form of pharmacological “roulette”, in which pills with unknown are taken just to see what will happen. It has been a serious concern to notice high use of psychotropic substances among school going children and other adolescent groups of Assam. During adolescence there is marked upsurge of sexual and physical drives. Biologic maturation and social opportunity have combined to increase the occasion for expression of these drives. These biologic and intra physic factors, coupled with cultural demands for academic and social success have added to the storm of stress during the period creating an “adolescence turmoil”. Fluctuating syndrome, some times of fairly serious nature have been held to be a part and parcel of the turmoil stage, and the adolescent are prone to use psychotropic substances to overcome this stressful period. Therefore it is very much needed to understand the psyche of these young people and take necessary measures to prevent them from becoming future drug users.

To achieve its goal project, base line study and size estimation was done to determine the exact magnitude of the problem and search the best way to address the issue of drug use in the society. The data was collected from the key informants like drug users, medicine shops, police, peddlers etc. The drug users were identified counseled and were motivated for availing the services as prescribed under National AIDS Control Program. Needle Syringe Exchange Program is an integral component of the project.The clients are also referred for opioid substitution therapy with ultimate aim of abstinence from drugs.

Home visits are made by the project staff for counseling of the family members of the IDUs. Support is also be provided to those IDUs who have been recently discharged from the de-addiction centers. There will be awareness development in the general community about the menace of drug. The attempt will be made to involve print and electronic media for anti-drug campaign and harm reduction among drug users.. Opioid Substitution Therapy is a new endeavor for proper rehabilitation and harm reduction of Injecting drug Users. It is expected to refer approximately two hundred injecting drug users to OST centre after proper counseling .

  • To halt new infection and reverse the epidemic of HIV/AIDS.
  • Zero level stigma and discrimination.
  • Improve the quality of lives of the persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Immediate Objectives
  • Availability and accessibility of all services under one roof in the Drop-in Centre of the TI (IDU)project “SANSKAR”.
  • Enhance the knowledge about HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users.
  • Prevention of new infection.
  • Promotion of harm reduction methods.
  • Promotion of condom uses.
  • Needle syringe exchange program.
  • Treatment of co-morbid conditions.
  • Identify ‘Female Injecting Drug Users” and provide them outreach services.
  • Eradicate stigma and discrimination attached to HIV/AIDS .
  • Provide Care and support to drug users living with HIV/AIDS.
  • To remove misconception about HIV/ AIDS.
  • Generate Community awareness.
  • Capacity enhancement training of project staff.
  • Linking the project activities with other ongoing governmental welfare activities.
  • Advocacy and create enabling environment for availing services of the TI
  •  Networking with stakeholders.
  • Sensitization of Police.
Expected Outcome:
    • Reduction of new infection to zero level.
    • Reduction in number of total abscess/STD cases.
    • Increase level of awareness on HIV/AIDS.
    • Increase use of condoms hundred percentage of sexually active IDUs.
    • Improve harm reduction through OST services.
    • Improve safe syringe use and sexual behavior.
    • Congenial environment in society for HIV/AIDS/STD cases.
    • Strong partnership with all stakeholders.
    • To promote community participation in combating HIV/AIDS.
    • Eradicate stigma and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
    • Improved quality of life for IDUs and PLWHA