9th Anniversary Celebration of Ahsania Mission Women Drug Treatment Centre – Social stigma being the main obstacle to Female Substance Users’ treatment

~ The article was written by DAM ~

Social stigma is the reason why Female substance users are unwilling to seek treatment. The rate of substance abuse among females is frightfully increasing along with that of men. If it is not controlled, it will take a horrendous form in society. Md Zafarullah Kazal, Additional Director of the Department of Narcotics Control, said this in a discussion meeting organized by Ahsania Mission Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Shyamoli on Wednesday (April 12) in the 10th year after the successful completion of 9 years.

Former Resident Psychiatrist of Govt Central Drug Treatment Centre Dr Aktaruzzaman Salim, Assistant Director (Medical Services) of Health Sector Dr Naila Parveen and Senior Psychologist Rakhi Ganguly were present as special guests in the program which was presided over by Mr Iqbal Masud, Director Health and WASH Sector of Dhaka Ahsania Mission. The female persons in recovery also spoke at the event.

During the programme, Mr Iqbal Masud said that since 2014 till now, 647 patients have been treated for substance use, mental disorders, and behavioural issues among which 129 patients relapsed and took re-treatment. Among women seeking medical care, 33% were yaba (amphetamine) users, 28% were marijuana dependents, 16% were sedative types of drug dependents, 15% were concurrent drug users, 2% were alcohol dependents, 2% were injecting drug dependents, and the rest were other substance users. Those seeking medical care often faced schizophrenia (34%), mood disorder (30%), bipolar (12%), depression (10%), OCD (6%) and the rest were suffering from other mental disorders.

This centre provides treatment to female substance users by female staff only. As substance use is a disorder, substance users can relapse and seek re-treatment so awareness programs are needed at all levels of society.

The reasons for using substances are mostly curiosity, peer pressure, loneliness, other family members or boyfriends who are substance users, depression, anxiety, excessive anger – stubbornness, etc.

Various levels of health sector officials and family members of recoveries and patients who are undergoing treatment were also present.

Since 2014, 65% of the 647 patients completed the treatment. 40% of the completed patients were living a healthy substance-free life and were in regular contact with the centre, 24% dropped out, 17% Relapsed, 0.09% passed, 4% were referred for various reasons, of which 2% underwent only 14-day detoxification. Out of 647 patients, 51% have no contact with the centre. Many of those who are not affiliated with the centre is healthy and/or have gone abroad. Others may not have contacted the medical centre due to public contempt and social stigma.

Since April 2014, Ahsania Mission Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center have been providing treatment to females suffering from substance abuse, mental, and behavioural problems. Specialized treatment is given to women and children around the world. Keeping that in mind, Ahsania Mission is providing science-based particularised treatment for female substance users through its Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center.

To date, Dhaka Ahsania Mission has established 4 drug treatment and rehabilitation centres as part of its anti-drug programme. These are, Ahsania Mission Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Gazipur in May 2004, Ahsania Mission Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, Jessore in 2010, Ahsania Mission Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, Dhaka in April 2014, and Ahsania Hena Ahmed Monojotno Kendra in February 2021 in Munshiganj.

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