Imphal: Considering the drug users are among the most vulnerable sections of society, especially during this time of COVID-19 pandemic, the Manipur government on Monday conducted mass testing of street-based drug users in Imphal to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Organised by the social welfare department of the state in collaboration with FINGODAP Manipur chapter and Drug Users’ Federation for Human Rights and Justice, a total of 33 drug users, including four women, turned up at the special camp.

The special COVID-19 testing camp was organised by the social welfare department of Manipur in collaboration with FINGODAP Manipur chapter and Drug Users’ Federation for Human Rights and Justice

“Those suffering from alcohol or drug use disorders are likely to experience intense craving as well as withdrawal symptoms with potentially-serious and life-threatening consequences. They are also likely to be a potential source of virus spread, if they are not taken care of in time,” said social welfare director Ngangom Uttam Singh.

It is a well-known fact that there are many street-based drug users in the state who are disowned by their families, Singh added.

Also read: Centre asks Manipur govt to act with urgency on drug menace

Of the 33 drug users who underwent RT-PCR testing for COVID-19, only one was found to be infected with the novel coronavirus.

The male drug users who tested negative have been taken to Divine Light Centre at Canchipur while the four women were sent to Sneha Bhawan at Sangaiprou for treatment, Singh said.

The lone drug user who tested positive for COVID-19 has been sent to the RD Wing COVID-19 care centre for further treatment. However, once he becomes COVID-19 free, he will also be transferred for de-addiction and treatment at Canchipur, Singh added.

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