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Re: IDU Study in Punjab & Haryana

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Re: /message/8339

Many thanks to Yaswinder for posting such a great news of IDU study in Punjab

and Haryana through Tribune News Service.

I humbly suggests that it would have been more complete if the report was

widely circulated.

With due submission, I would like to draw your and Rajesh's (SPYM)

kind attention to clarify few points such as; in what ways do Punjab

and Haryana are going in the same way as Manipur and Nagaland goes?

Secondly, I strongly disagree to use words like 'addict/addicts' for

it might lead to moralistic comment rather than reducing

stigma/discrimination attached to " drug users " .

I pressume and understood that our attitude and values towards the population

whom we are working with needs to be realistic, not necessarily according to our


However, I personally apprecaite the work taken up by SPYM with 30 NGOs.


K.Basanta Kumar Singh


e-mail: <k_basanta@...>

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Regarding Mr. K.Basanta Kumar Singh's posting in reply to the IDU Study in

Punjab & Haryana, I must clarify a few issues.

Nowhere has the publication used the expression " Punjab and Haryana are going in

the same way as Manipur and Nagaland. " (I happen to be one of the two authors of

the study). That may have been media's interpretation.

However, it must be remembered that after all Manipur and Nagaland are the

states where the phenomenon of IDU has been the major force driving the HIV

epidemic. Hence, if IDUs are found in sizable numbers elsewhere in India the

comparison with Manipur and Nagaland is not totally unjustified. There are

lessons to be learned from Manipur and Nagaland. The professionals, service

providers and the community have been working very hard in Manipur and Nagaland

to reverse the tide of the epidemic, which could be a source of inspiration for

people elsewhere.

It is a very valid point that the term 'addict' may be used with a pejorative

connotation in certain contexts. Hence the term should be used carefully or

avoided totally during dealing with the general public.

Professionals however, have been using this term in communication with each

other without any negative meaning or value attached to it.

Names of some of the most reputed scientific journals contain the term (eg.

" Addiction " , " Addictive Behaviours " , " Addiction Biology " etc.). Similarly many

professional societies (eg. " The International Society of Addiction Medicine " )

have used the term as part of their names. I guess, rather than the term per se,

the intention and context are more important.

Going through the article published on tribuneindia (avialable at

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080120/cth1.htm#4) it appeared to me that the

term was not used in a negative sense there. In fact the 'feel' of the article

is quite positive.

I am sure that as soon as the digital copy of the report is available it will be

uploaded and the link will be shared widely.

I join Mr Basanta in his appreciation of the NGOs who carried out this work.



Dr. Atul Ambekar, M.D.

Assistant Professor

National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry

All India Institute of Medical Sciences,

Ansari Nagar, New Delhi

India - 110029

Phone (O): 91-11-26593236

Phone ®: 91-11-26105757

Mobile: (+91) 9811155682

Fax: 91-11-26588641, 91-11-26588663

Email: atul.ambekar@...

Website: http://www.aiims.edu/aiims/departments/spcenter/nddtc/nddc_intro.htm

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Dear Forum & Dr. Atul,

Re: /message/8345

Many thanks for clarifying my doubts. Intervetnion for IDU had

become widely acceptable as it rapidly controls further spread of

HIV not only to IDU community but also to other population. I fully

support the work of SPYM and AIIMS however thare are issues which we

really need to be careful and understood while dealing with IDUs and

other marginalized groups.

Regarding Dr. Atul's comment about using the same word ' addict'; I

would humbly suggests to all sections particularly those working

with IDUs to use either ' drug user' or people who use drug' as a

common language irrespective of direct service providers or

professionals or lay men that may remove all sorts of barrier.

In my experience of working with IDU (since 1990 in Manipur) there seems lot of

differences in the profile or habit or lifestyle or

perceptions or values or simply contextual situations even within

the state; so also may be with other parts of the country.

We are still hopeful that while creating enabling environment for building

capacity and working with IDUs, essentially we put there agenda first.

This is my personal view point and am not contradicting to any one's view.



e-mail: <k_basanta@...>

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