‘Project Rest’ launched at NHAK to provide psychosocial interventions, counselling to substance users

Kohima: ‘Project Rest’ is a free, tailored outpatient program to aid abstinence and help maintain sobriety

BY | Tuesday, 22 August, 2023

‘Project Rest’ was launched at Nagaland Hospital Authority Kohima on Tuesday by Dr. Chiekhroshuyi Tetseo, Director (Dental), Health & Family Welfare at a program held at NHAK Conference Hall. Project Rest seeks to deliver interventions to individuals battling or recovering from substance abuse through psychosocial interventions and regular follow-up sessions.

In his speech, Dr Tetseo expressed his concerns on the increasing number of substance abuse cases in Nagaland. He highlighted several factors that contribute to the complexity of the issue, such as a lack of awareness, the stigmatization of drug users, and the acceptance of social drinking and tobacco use as normalized behaviour.

He stressed the importance of addressing substance abuse as a serious issue and implementing effective interventions. Dr Tetseo specifically drew attention to the addiction to tobacco and urged people not to underestimate its detrimental impacts. He suggested incorporating research into their efforts and adopting successful interventions from NHAK in all district health centres.

Additionally, Dr Tetseo proposed the establishment of a dedicated helpline to address substance abuse concerns. He expressed his satisfaction with Project Rest and believed it would greatly benefit the people of Nagaland.

In his welcome address, NHAK Managing Director, Dr Sendimeren Aonok, acknowledged that addiction has been an ongoing battle for decades. He characterized it as an epidemic, as every family is impacted by it, and emphasized the importance of taking positive steps to address the issue. Dr Aonok highlighted the extent of the problem by mentioning that even unborn children are affected when pregnant mothers abuse alcohol and drugs during pregnancy. He encouraged everyone to come together and take greater positive steps in combating addiction.

NHAK Nodal officer Project Rest Dr Sungtimen Jamir elaborated about the project in his speech mentioned that rationale of the Project that is to deliver interventions to recovering individuals post OST, Detox or Rehabilitation, to aid their abstinence, to provide professional assistance to those individuals battling through life due to use of harmful substances, to render psychosocial interventions, help sustain their sobriety journey and conduct regular follow-up sessions to prevent relapses and to address the increasing rate of dependency on alcohol and harmful substances among Nagas.

Dr Jamir also highlighted that according to World Health Organization, 2023 Statistics: Worldwide, the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol. These represents 5.3% of all deaths. Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In people aged 20-39 years, approximately 13.5% of total deaths are attributable to alcohol, Dr Jamir added.

The rampant rise of drug abuse amongst the youth population is alarming, he said, adding that drug abuse has serious consequences in our homes, schools and communities. He said that there are approximately 22,000 PWIDs (People Who Inject Drugs) in Nagaland according to NACO while also informing that there are around 1700 registered clients in Kohima for various substitution and maintenance therapies and programs. But no concrete data is available for people who inhale drugs, smoke cannabis or abuse sedatives or recreational use Dr Jamir said.

Further, Dr Sungtimen Jamir explained that ‘Project Rest’ is a tailored outpatient program that will provide individual intervention as well as couple, family and group therapy. It was initiated because the NHAK recognized the need of psychosocial interventions among dependent users to address frequent relapse, failed abstinence and multiple treatments.

This project is for those recovering individuals post OST, Detox or Rehabilitation to aid their abstinence and help maintain sobriety. It is also for those who are unable to get themselves admitted to Rehab centres post detox due to work and other obligations. It is purely voluntary, where psychotherapy and counselling is provided free of cost by a Team of Qualified Individuals.

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Tele-MANAS Clinical Psychologist Suyimtenla Jamir elaborated on why Psychosocial Interventions is important. She stated that psychological interventions address the intricate web of factors contributing to substance abuse and dependence. It offers a range of evidence-based treatments designed to empower individuals to overcome addiction, fostering a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. The process involves a collaborative effort between trained therapists, participants, family members and society as a whole. Recent research substantiates that psychosocial interventions for substance dependence can promote behaviour change. The longer a patient is engaged in treatment the better his or her long-term prognosis will be, she added.

Highlighting the aims and objectives, Suyimtenla Jamir said that at Project Rest, they facilitate comprehensive recovery, promote physical, mental and social well-being, help develop life skills and vocational competencies, support social reintegration and community connection, provide on-going aftercare and relapse prevention support, create support groups to enable each other throughout their journey.

What they hope to spread is to de-stigmatize those individuals who are dependent on harmful substances, to create a supportive community to reduce dependency rate, to spread awareness about the ill-effects of substances and aim for primary prevention.

The program was chaired by Veronica Nriame, Psychiatric Social Worker, NHAK, while Vikepu Tepa blessed the program with invocation prayer.


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