Wellington, Nov 07 (ANI): Doctors in New Zealand are telling the alcoholics to continue boozing as they do not have enough acute detoxification beds to help them get rid of the condition.
A Canterbury doctor, who refused to be named, said he had dealt with several patients who wanted to stop drinking but could not do so safely unless in a hospital or a detox unit.
He said the Kennedy Detoxification Unit at Hillmorton Hospital, which serviced the South Island, was either full or would not accept emergency cases.
Heavy drinkers could suffer from seizures and delirium while detoxing, so if no beds were available he would tell them to keep drinking.
"If the person is suicidal or severely depressed or has other medical problems like a gastric ulcer that requires them to stop drinking, you are in a real bind," Stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.
The doctor said services provided by non-government organisations were helpful for people with mild addiction problems, but those with severe problems needed people with a medical or psychiatric background.
Doug Sellman of the National Addiction Centre said there were problems across the country for people needing medical detoxification beds.
"If you can't get a place and can't get medical attention and suffer convulsions, it's best to keep drinking," he said.
Sellman said there was probably more detoxing in police cells than at medical detox units because New Zealand treated alcoholism and drug addiction as a justice issue rather than a health issue.
Jan Spence of the Christchurch City Mission alcohol and drug services said people needing medical detoxification were usually in crisis and any delay in treatment could be dangerous.
There could be a two to three-week wait for a bed at the Kennedy unit, and people could lose their resolve to give up, she said.
"If people can't get instant gratification for their immediate problems, they may go off the boil and not present again for treatment," she said. (ANI)