Significant rise in drug addiction treatment, says Turkish health minister
Meltem Özgenç ANKARA
Minister Müezzinoğlu said the total number of patients treated for drug addiction at AMATEM and ÇEMATEM had increased from 38,081 to 258,441 between 2007 and 2013. AA PhotoHealth Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has said about 260,000 people were treated for drug addiction in the state’s rehabilitation centers in 2013, marking a substantial increase from the year 2007.
Answering a parliamentary question filed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chairman Levent Gök, Müezzinoğlu said the total number of patients treated for drug addiction at the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Centers (AMATEM) and Child and Teen Drug Addiction Treatment Centers (ÇEMATEM) had increased from 38,081 to 258,441 between 2007 and 2013.
While the number of outpatients in 2007 was 35,569 and the number of in-patients 2,492, this figure rose to 246,586 for outpatients and 11,855 for in-patients in 2013.
Müezzinoğlu said there were a total of 33 rehabilitation centers around Turkey, with only two of them serving outpatients. He added that 24 new rehabilitation centers are planned to be opened.
Müezzinoğlu said the current infrastructure of the AMATEM rehabilitation centers could not determine the use of synthetic drugs, such as “bonzai,” adding that tests to determine such drug usage were being made available at other hospitals, especially where synthetic drug use was high.
Upon a question on how many people had recovered from addiction in the past five years, Müezzinoğlu likened addiction to diabetes and said, “Just like diabetes, there are a set of rules to follow in order to preserve health after the rehabilitation process.”
Müezzinoğlu added the ministry’s efforts in combatting addiction were continuing.
Officials from the Family and Social Policies Ministry, the Health Ministry and the Interior Ministry had held a meeting in an effort to unite their forces to combat drugs, including a cheap synthetic drug called “bonzai,” the use of which has been rapidly spreading in recent years, on July 7, 2014.