With suicide cases being reported from various parts of Kerala after liquor sales were stopped following the implementation of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, CM Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the Excise Department to provide liquor to those with a prescription from doctors.
Moreover, the Kerala government has also asked the Excise Department to provide free treatment and admit people with withdrawal symptoms to de-addiction centres.
Additionally, the CM said the government is also considering the option of online sale of liquor as the sudden unavailability of alcohol may lead to social problems.
However, medical experts do not approve of this decision. Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that scientific treatment should be given to those who have alcohol withdrawal symptoms. “Writing a liquor prescription can result in the cancellation of the right to treatment. We have brought it to the notice of Kerala Chief Minister,” Kerala chapter of Indian Medical Association said.
“It can be treated at home or in hospitals with medicines. It is not scientifically acceptable to offer alcohol to them. Doctors have no legal obligation to provide a prescription for alcohol,” IMA added.
Notably, five people with an alleged history of alcohol addiction have committed suicide in Kerala in just five days. Health woes of alcohol addicts have become a major concern along with the battle against COVID-19 across the state.
As per reports, two alcohol addicts also attempted suicide in Malappuram on Saturday. In Kerala, there is a sudden increase in the number of admissions at de-addiction centres and mental health units at government hospitals.
Last week, the Kerala government stopped the sale of liquor through bars and state-run retail outlets following the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.