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Naco lowers age for offering its services to injecting drug users
Nov 11, 2013

The National Commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR) has urged the national AIDS control organization (NACO) to rebook and revise its services offered to Injecting drug users (IDU) and lower the age for availing of the facilities offered by them. It said the age of those abusing drugs is witnessing decline.

In a follow-up to the NCPCR suggestion and taking immediate action, NACO noted: “Now with the advancement in medical knowledge through continued research, the medicine (Bupren or phine) is now considered safe for use in adolescents above 15 years of age.

The National AIDS control programme recommendation have been revised in view of the development and cut-off of 18 years for receiving OST has been removed.

The Opioid  Substitution Theraphy (OST) offered as treatment for opioid dependence is aimed at helping IDUs reduce/stop injecting and, thereby reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission due to sharing of injecting equipment.

It also cautions that clients should, however, meet the other established inclusion criteria for OST to receive the treatment NACO secretary stated that "These include written informed consent from the client, which in case of adolescents can be provided by a member of the family."

It is mention-working that the change in National Aids control programme guidelines has been communicated to OSt centres but it is possible that some centres may still be adhering to the older criteria. For this, the programme has planned refresher trainings for the staff of older centres, including those in Mizoram.

NACO is also in the process of drafting the revised OST guidelines and stand and operating procedure, where in this issue will be suitably addressed. The need to review this issue is based on the fact that Drug addiction is a growing reality across the country.

About NACO:

The National AIDS control organization (NACO), established in 1992, is a division of India’s ministry of Health and family welfare that provides leadership to HIV/AIDS control programme in India. In this direction, National AIDS control programme (NACP) was launched in 1987. NACP III has the following four-pronged strategy.

  • Present infections through saturation of coverage of high-risk groups with targeted interventions (TIs) and scaled up interventions in the general population.

  • Provide grater care, support and treatment to large number of PLHA.

  • Strengthen the infrastructure, systems and human resources in prevention, care support and treatment programmes at district, state and national levels.

  • Strengthen the nationwide strategic information management system.  

 


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