New Delhi, Apr 8: At a time, when stir in Uttar Pradesh is intensifying against the liquor ban, doctors in Bihar have claimed that the prohibition in the Nitish Kumar-led state has led to increase in cases of drug addiction. A complete ban on liquor in the state was introduced in 2016. Also Read - Ahead of Bihar Polls, CM Nitish Kumar Promises Rs 25K to Girls Passing Intermediate Exams, Rs 50K to Those Who Graduate

In this regard, a report in the Indian Express quotes Dr ME Haq, a general medical officer, as claiming that the de-addiction centre where he is posted has been recording cases of substance abuse, ranging from cannabis, inhalants, and sedatives to opioids. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020 Full Schedule: Polling to Take Place in 3 Phases From October 28, Results on November 10

State programme officer Dr AK Shahi informed the IE that about 25 per cent of cases in the de-addiction centres now are related to abuse of other substances, mostly opioids, cannabis, inhalants and sedatives. He further claims that the unavailability of alcohol has resulted into this. Also Read - Will Enter Politics Only if People of My Home District Want it, Says Bihar EX-DGP Gupteshwar Pandey

The sudden increase in the number of drug abuse cases, the Bihar government, in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health and Nuerosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, is training medical officers of the state in dealing with such cases. The first such training stint at the Virtual Knowledge Network in NIMHANS took place last March and doctors and counsellors from 11 districts participated in it.

Additional professor and co-ordinator at NIMHAS Dr Prabhat Kumar Chand informed the Indian Express that initially the medical officers from Bihar were trained for 10 days. Now, as per the information provided by him, the de-addiction programme takes place through mobile technology wherein, doctors present their cases and NIMHAS connects with them while helping in providing treatment to the person.

Reportedly, between March and September 2016, 2,695 cases of alcohol addiction were screened. Noteworthy, in 49.1 per cent of these cases, patients returned for follow-ups.

Meanwhile, a PTI report has quoted Liquor major United Spirits (USL) as claiming that over 500 employees have lost jobs due to shutting down of four bottling facilities in Bihar after alcohol prohibition in the state. While lashing out at the state government, USL has termed prohibition as “an ineffective way and somewhat lazy way of addressing alcohol misuse”.