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Muktangan employs awareness programmes, de-addiction treatment facilities and rehabilitation programmes to help addicts live healthy lives
Founded on 29 August 1986 by late Dr Anita Awachat and Dr Anil Awachat, Muktangan Rehabilitation Center works in the field of reducing drug demand, treatment of substance abuse, and spreading awareness about the evils of addiction. It treats addicts through a recovery programme that involves change in attitude and lifestyle. The success of its programme is evident from the fact that nearly 75% of Muktangan’s staff comprises addicts who have recovered; they bring in empathy to the rehabilitation effort. The rest are psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers.
Muktangan was founded in 1986 when Anil published his book Gard (‘brown sugar’ in Marathi). After reading Gard, legendary Marathi writer late ‘Pu La’ Deshpande encouraged the Awachat couple to work on rehabilitation. The Pu La Deshpande Foundation donated Rs1 lakh to start Muktangan and Dr Anand Nadkarni, a psychiatrist and family friend who worked at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, guided them. Anil became the backbone of Muktangan, while Anita did the research. Their consistent efforts brought Muktangan to life—it has now entered its silver jubilee.
From August 1986 to September 2000, Muktangan worked at the Yerawada Mental Hospital, Pune. Later, it shifted to Mohanwadi, where it operates on land leased by the Pune Municipal Corporation. Muktangan has a five-week residential treatment programme based on Gandhian principles, rational emotive behaviour therapy and Alcoholic Anonymous techniques. The programme starts every Friday. On completion of five weeks, the patient is discharged on Wednesday after 10am. Patients can also avail of the out-patient facility thrice a week.
Sanjay Bhagat, coordinator of Muktangan’s corporate services told Moneylife, “The five-week treatment is a structured programme that has been developed on the basis of our 25 years of learning from our patients. A patient deals with the recovery effort ‘one day at a time’, but there are also those who require treatment beyond the five weeks. It has to be with the consent of the user, family members and recommendation of the counsellor and medical department. For such cases, there is an extensive treatment programme of another three weeks.” If a substance user cannot afford to pay the fees for the five-week programme, Muktangan bears the cost. The only documentation required is an orange or yellow ration card. Muktangan can treat over 120 residential patients at a time and has treated close to 20,000 so far.
Nishigandh is an integrated rehabilitation centre for women substance users which follows the same five-week treatment programme; it is managed by women. Sahachari is a support group that was started by and for the wives of the recovering patients. Muktangan promotes income-generation activities to rehabilitate the family as well. Jidnyasa, an awareness programme for adolescents, also imparts information about the ill-effects of drug use, sex education, HIV/AIDS and stress management. Muktangan has follow-up centres at 18 locations in Maharashtra and one in Karnataka, visited every month by its counsellors on a fixed day.
Muktangan also trains police, jail officers, industrial welfare officers and community leaders. It also manages the Regional Resource and Training Center (west zone), funded by the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment. This is for capacity building of rehabilitation centres for drug users in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Goa. Muktangan has also helped to prevent substance abuse in the workplace.
Muktangan is partially supported by the ministry of social justice and empowerment. Its corporate training programmes generate some revenue and it also gets donations from people. Donations to Muktangan are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.
Muktangan Rehabilitation Center
off Pune-Alandi Road,
Yerawada, Pune - 411 006,
Tel: +91 20 64014598
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