Mauritius rolls out new protocols for treatment of substance abuse disorders

Mauritius: The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, launched, this afternoon, at Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis, a new Protocol regarding the treatment for opioid and psychoactive substances addiction intending to equip stakeholders, including doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists, with relevant tools for effective interventions.

Mauritius rolls out new protocols for treatment of substance abuse disorders
Mauritius rolls out new protocols for treatment of substance abuse disorders Image credit: Mauritius facebook page

Mauritius: The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, launched, this afternoon, at Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis, a new Protocol regarding the treatment for opioid and psychoactive substances addiction intending to equip stakeholders, including doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists, with relevant tools for effective interventions.

According to Dr Jagutpal, the treatment Protocol has been developed through a collaborative process involving medical personnel, the harm reduction unit, and non-governmental organisations, with the contribution of a Consultant in Addiction Medicine from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bellepierre in Réunion Island, Dr David Mété.

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The Minister was adamant that the objectives of the new Protocol were to treat disorders related to drug use in a pragmatic and scientific way that respected human dignity. He stated that the Protocol would focus on care, rehabilitation, reintegration and healing, as well as the fight against stigma and discrimination against drug users.

“The drug user is a patient like any other, who must be treated with empathy, respect, professionalism and without judgement; he must be listened to and be involved in decisions concerning his wellbeing,” underscored Dr Jagutpal.

The Minister also mentioned the forthcoming setting-up of the Drug Users Administrative Panel. This initiative aims at referring a person suspected of having committed a drug offence for his personal consumption for rehabilitation.

Moreover, the Minister highlighted the multisectoral and integrated approach as well as support to address drug use in Mauritius. He affirmed that addiction, like any chronic disease, requires multidisciplinary teams comprising specialists in addiction medicine, psychiatrists, dedicated trained nurses, psychologists and social workers, among others, working together for patient-centred care.

He added that creating a therapeutic alliance between the patient and the carers and counsellors would be the first step towards positive treatment outcomes.

The Health Minister also explained that the new Protocol treatment for opioid dependence is based on substitution therapy and weaning off of patients with the provision of methadone induction in primary health centres for most patients, while the more vulnerable ones would go for residential installation.

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On that score, Dr Jagutpal indicated that current methadone users would be gradually reintegrated into care with the help of peer educators and associations so that they are medically, psychologically and socially monitored regularly.