Since February 1993 DOST has been providing residential Treatment and Rehabilitation services to drug addicts. However, despite the increasing demand for services DOST was unable to increase its treatment capacity due to lack of financial resources, limited donor support and lack of consistency in donor funding. This resulted in a gradual and unprecedented increase in the numbers of drug addicts in the streets, on the sidewalks and green areas, parks, rooftops and under the bridges, in Peshawar. This explosion in drug addiction and the consequent visibility was also noted by the KP government politicians and officials. In light of the magnitude of the drug problem and the damage it is causing to society, with the youth in particular, the Chief Minister and the Provincial Assembly’s Standing Committee on Social Welfare directed the Department to adopt appropriate measures to address the problem. There was considerable criticism in the media also.
In order to initiate immediate remedial measures, the Chief Secretary KP asked DOST, a pioneer not-for-profit NGO, working on drug addiction issues, to make a detailed presentation on 04 April 2014. The meeting was attended by representatives of Social Welfare, Finance, Health, Planning & Development departments. The meeting was apprised regarding the background of DOST as well as the treatment and rehabilitation facilities it provided.
“It was observed that despite alarming and dangerous situation, government facilities for treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts in KP were almost non-existent. Private treatment facilities were few, unaccountable and unaffordable for the majority of clients. On government level detoxification units of 10 beds were available in Khyber Teaching Hospital and 13 beds in Lady Reading Hospital while the Social Welfare Department has only one rehabilitation centre in Peshawar with a capacity of 20- 25 beds.”
On the other hand DOST has referral points all over KP and FATA as well as in BHUs, Child Protection Units, Prisons and community based organization which constitute an extensive network for referral of clients, follow-up and aftercare services. In November 2014, taking note of the presence of drug addicts in public places, the Chief Minister issued directives to the government departments to initiate immediate action, to remove and provide them necessary treatment. In pursuance of these directives the Commissioner Peshawar Division, convened a meeting in which representatives of DOST also participated. Subsequently, Mr. Munir Azam Commissioner Peshawar Division personally visited Treatment centres immediately and asked DOST to start work. In order to honour the CM’s directives DOST had to undertake work on an emergency basis, at short notice, to operationalize an incomplete building for intake of a large number of addicts. New bathrooms were added, equipment purchased and staff recruited. All this was done on fast track basis, with a huge financial cost to DOST for which funds had to be borrowed. All this expenditure had to be borne by DOST six months before the release of the first installment of a Grant in Aid sanctioned by the government earlier on. Financial support from the provincial government resulted in the operationalization of two Sakoon Kore centres (Sakoon Kores 111 and 1V) in addition to our existing facilities. This support will enable DOST to treat over 4000 drug addicts over a period of 30 months.