RIHAA (Rural Integrated Holistic Approach to Alcoholism) De-addiction center, Mandar, Jharkhand.
In the late eighties MMS of Mandar HFH began to be concerned with the increasing addiction to alcohol and drugs in the area, especially among the educated youth. Tertiary education left them with too much leisure and little to challenge their talents and jobs were not available. There were the drop-outs too. It was on a routine visit to the hospital that the Archbishop of Ranchi, Telesphore Toppo, asked the sisters if they would address this evil. Over the years the hospital had developed a net-work of health services in the area, but little was done to curb the evil of alcohol and drug abuse.
In March 1991 the first Archdiocesan De-addiction-cum-Counseling Center began, with Catholic Charities, Ranchi, as the project holder, and funds were channeled through them for the functioning of the Center. By 1998 Anna Varkey was appointed Directress of the Center, after a Masters degree in sociology and studies on de-addiction and counseling at TRADA and in 2001 with the Parish facilities being inadequate, the Center was moved to HFH and in May 2004 hospital facilities, three wards were renovated and enclosed for detoxification and rehabilitation. The place has sixteen beds with a kitchen, a garden to grow flowers, vegetables and fruit and a playground.
To begin with the focus was on the parish of Mandar. Resource persons from the Total Response to Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TRADA) gave input and later some hospital staff was trained by them. From the outset the laity of the parish was involved in the undertaking. It was found that one in three educated youth was into drugs and alcohol. Almost all adult males drank daily. Addiction was more common than anticipated and the worst sufferers were women and children. Wife beating was common. Young boys tended to follow the example of their fathers and older brothers. Meager incomes were being wasted on alcohol, especially the locally distilled liquor called “daru”. Agriculture was often neglected and increasingly land was mortgaged to meet debts.
RIHAA offers a comprehensive program to deal with alcoholism of men and women in Jharkhand. Besides the curative and promotive care, the Center through its village meetings, home visits has endeavoured to integrate its services into the Gram Sabhas. Annually numerous alcoholics are treated and families are counseled and helped towards rehabilitation. Success rate is over 55 percent since the follow-up is intensive. The use of liquor during festivals and celebrations has been reduced considerably. Twenty percent have a relapse which is also closely monitored and guidance given. Home visits made to motivate alcoholics to take treatment and follow-up counseling and attend alcoholic anonymous meetings. It also empowers women to engage in alternate livelihoods that replaces brewing and sale of liquor.
The Center extends its services through trainings and seminars in other Dioceses of Jharkhand. It is also in touch with institutions in Patna, Calcutta and Chattisgarh for awareness programs and for training animators for prevention. The Center works closely with Kripa Foundation Mumbai, which has forty-three de-addiction and rehabilitation Centers in India, for staff upgrading and capacity building.