In two days since prohibition law was enforced in Bihar, more than 750 patients have knocked at the doors of de-addiction centres and hospitals in the state.
Queues of those seeking de-addiction therapy were getting so long that the government was planning to set up alcohol de-addiction centres at many places, sourcs said Friday.
Because of the sudden decision to ban alcohol completely, hundreds of alcoholics were brought to hospitals with symptoms like headache, high palpitation, shivering and breathlessness.
One of them was brought in after he fell on the road the morning after the ban was imposed. With trembling hands, he said, “When shutters came down, it happened without a warning.”
At a de-addiction centre in Siwan, alcohol addicts left high and dry by the new liquor policy, queued up immediately after the ban and the wards are nearly full.
The story is no different in other parts of the state.
One man in Patna, who used to finish two bottles a day, opted to get himself admitted as he found the withdrawal symptoms intolerable. "Ï used to be under the influence of alcohol all the while. So much so that I never got intoxicated," he said.
In 38 de-addiction centres hastily opened across the state this week, more than 150 doctors and 45 specially trained counsellors were kept very busy.
"The number of patients has increased many fold, especially after the alcohol ban," social worker Rakhi Sharma said.
While queues at de-addiction centres were getting longer, queues elsewhere were getting shorter, said the state women's commission. According to them, there has been a drastic drop in the number of domestic violence cases.
“There has been a sharp decrease in instances of violence against women. We have not received any case in the last few days,” said Women’s Commission chairperson Anjum Arah.
Women, who Nitish Kumar considers his largest vote bank, have backed the Chief MInister's gambit.While some of them expressed happiness at the development, others warned of the possible menace of bootleggers.
Since the ban took effect, police have arrested 1,057 people for liquor trade while 353 hooch units have been raided, and 56,532 litres of alcohol destroyed.
The government has proposed to setup alcohol de-addiction centres in all the districts of Bihar and the process for the same is on. But till they are set up and become operational, chronic alcohol dependents will have a real tough time managing without it.