Mangalore: Link De-Addiction Centre : A Lifeline to Lost Lives

September 5, 2011

In the last few days there has been a spate of incidents of students and drug peddlers being caught in and around Mangalore for possession of drugs.  Their arrest has given credence to the fears of parents and widespread murmurs from all concerned about Mangalore becoming a den of drug users and peddlers who are primarily targeting the cream of our population – the youth.   Needless to say an epidemic of such diabolical and monstrous magnitude calls for a systematic, logical   and community based approach to find a lasting solution.    One such organization which has been working interminably for the wellness and welfare of all sorts of addicts in Mangalore for the last two decades is Link Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts, Mangalore.  This organization has recently completed 20 years in the service of humanity to emerge as a trusted and credible centre to treat and rehabilitate those who fall prey to addiction and want to come out of it.

Ronald Colaco

This charitable organization, a project of Link Anti Addiction Citizens Committee, has recently been shifted to the new 50-bedded fully furnished two-storey premises at J M Road in Bajal, Mangalore, which is donated by NRI businessman and philanthropist Ronald Colaco.  Though the centre is functioning from the new premises from November last, the official donation of this new building constructed at a cost of Rs 3.75 crores by Colaco, will be done shortly.  With this gift the need of Link to have a permanent roof of its own is fulfilled and it is sure to give a fillip to the centre to carry on with its work of creating a better society.

This de-addiction centre provides succor to those addicts who want to come out of the mess they have found themselves in and want to mend their delinquent lifestyle which is self-destructive and is deleterious  not only to themselves but also to their family and  to the society.  In this noble task Link is guided by its principle objective of enheartening the enfeebled minds and souls and become their savior.  It wants the prevention and management of chemical substance abuse with timely intervention and through such efforts ensures that we have healthy individuals and a healthy society.  What is more, Link has been going about this task for the last two decades without much ado and with great effervescence and felicity.

In the last two decades Link has treated more than 12,000 families addicted to alcohol and drugs from different parts of Karnataka through its residential treatment programmes and community-based rural de-addiction camps, which gives us a sleaze of the enormity of the number of people who fall prey to this pernicious evil.  That the organization boasts of 75% success rate speaks highly about the good work it has been doing in this field.  With fresh details emerging about more and more teenagers getting addicted to drugs in Mangalore and in different parts of the state, is certainly a cause to worry.  That is why organizations like Link come to play a quintessential role in safeguarding and promoting the health of the society.  Lydia Lobo, who has been working as its Administrator for the last 1 ½ years after T S Thomas had managed the centre rendering 18 years of valuable service,  says “our study shows that youngsters in the age group of 16-18 are highly vulnerable to drugs as the modern lifestyle and college atmosphere is conducive for such clandestine activities.  Hence we have been targeting college students in our awareness camps”. 

Link- an Offshoot of College Project  

Link De-Addiction Centre had its origin in a college project which subsequently became a student movement and took strong roots as an anti addiction centre.  It was initially started as a charitable society in 1991 in School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya and under the initiative and leadership of a dynamic social work student T S Thomas. It was registered as a society in 1992 with Ronald Colaco as its founder President.  Under his tutelage Link slowly emerged as de-addiction centre of repute attracting addicts from different parts of Mangalore.  Initially it functioned from a 5-bed room at Colaco Hospital which later got shifted to S L Mathias Road.  From 2000 it was functioning from Bolar as a 20-bed de-addiction centre until coming to the present premises at Bajal.  In its incipient stage it was Ronald Colaco who nurtured this centre by bearing all the expenses completely.  Initially it was known as Link TRADA (Total Responsibility in Alcohol and Drug Abuse) because of its collaboration with Kottayam based TRADA. 

In its present premises Link has a capacity to accommodate 50 patients and on an average 25 to 30 patients take treatments as in-patients.   Unlike earlier where they could not accommodate women as inpatients, there is a provision at the present premises to treat women patients separately.  In   1998 the centre got recognition from the Central government’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the form of an annual grant of    Rs. 6 lakhs.   As this grant is suffice to take care of only 15 patients and government pays minimum salary for a limited number of staff Ronald Colaco has been paying for the expenses of other patients and also towards the salary expenses of the staff working at the centre.

This centre is headed by a Management committee comprising people from all walks of life including doctors and social workers.  These meet once a month to chalk out various programmes and strategies and provide an effective mechanism to deal with the perils of drugs and alcohol.    The centre has 14 staff including administrative staff, counselors, medical officers, yoga staff, residential counselors and housekeeping staff in addition to a few doctors working on honorary basis.   

The present premise is idyllic and both patients and the staff have taken a liking for the place which is quite airy and spacious.  Even patients have taken a fancy for the place which with its pristine and green surrounding has a balmy impact on them especially when they are recuperating being from their homes.   

Multi-pronged Strategy 

As a de-addiction centre Link’s popularity has spread far and wide and patients flock to this centre from different parts of the state.  Most of the patients are sent by ex-patients whose account of the total atmosphere and treatment given acts as a catalyst of attracting patients. It goes to the credit of Link that it has attracted patients from states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa and even some patients from the Middle East during their vacation have been treated at the centre.   Link has also collaborated with various NGO’s and conducted a large number of awareness and training camps and outreach programmes.   The best part is that recovered patients provide free publicity for the centre.  

The de-addiction centre has a one month course for the patients that begin with detoxification, medical and nursing care, psychiatric sessions, yoga therapy, group therapy and orientation programmes.  Treatment programme also include collecting feedback, counseling, providing inputs and motivation sessions and other activities.   Neri Wilfred Pinto, who is one of the chief motivators and one of the oldest staff of the centre, says “it takes 3 days to one week for the patients to get motivated as many of them suffer from mood variations.  We take feedback of the patients from their family members also which helps us to get to the root of the problem.  We also conduct counseling for their family members as we feel family plays a crucial role in the recovery of the patients”.  As a recovered addict Neri is aware of the turmoil and foibles of the patients and is quite effectual as a motivator.  He says there are four types of Alcoholics namely social drinkers, those who drink rarely, addicts who need regular but limited dose of alcohol and finally alcoholics. 

There are a few instances of relapses says Lydia Lobo, which she says are negligible compared to those who recover fully.  To ensure that the motivation of the patients remains unswerving, recovered patients are motivated to attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sessions. Neri hastens to add that “AA is considered as the last address to the alcoholics”.  The centre also keeps a tab on the recovered patients by keeping in touch with them and with their family.  This is necessary because as Neri puts it “there are instances of relapses even after 20 or 25 years and an alcoholic can never become a social drinker”.    

Gone is the taboo associated with coming to de-addiction centre as in the recent years the centre has been receiving many drug addicts who come for treatment.  These drug addicts are treated with counseling and therapeutic assistance by the Link team as it calls for combined efforts and team work to get them back to normalcy.   Several drugs are sold clandestinely in the markets aimed at youngsters who become slaves of pills like ecstasy, designer party drugs, opium and inhalers   provided by shadowy network dealers.  That is why in the recent past we have also been witnessing an increase in alcoholics and druggists, who in the process of destroying themselves spoil the family atmosphere by creating mayhem at their homes.  In other words, addiction has become a social disease, a curse, an epidemic, an anathema and an evil that needs to be fought on a war footing and with a sense of purpose.  Link is doing this noble, marvelous and valuable service in bringing back our human resource that is treading in the wrong path.  


Interview with Ronald Colaco, Founder President of Link De-Addiction Centre

Q. Link De-Addiction Centre has completed 20 years of service.  What do you feel        considering that you are associated with it since its inception?

A. I am happy to say Link is my baby and it has come of age.  It has been a satisfying experience and I am glad I am involved   with it from its inception.  I wanted this centre to be the catalyst to help and treat people before they become addicts as I subscribe to the he motto of prevention is better than cure.  It is a matter of immense satisfaction that Link has succeeded in accomplishing this objective to a great extent.

Q.  What prompted you to get associated with Link De-Addiction Centre?

A. My initial involvement started when a group of students of Roshani Nilaya came to me for financial help for conducting a pivotal survey of 32 colleges of the district as part of their project to find out the number of students addicted to drugs and alcohol.  While providing help I pointed out the lacunae in their questionnaire which was more direct and would have got only negative response from the respondents.  I guided them to ask questions in a positive way so as to elicit explicit response and the survey was successful. I had also put one condition to the students to keep the results of the survey confidential to avoid creating unnecessary ruckus among parents and students.

Q.  What was the result of the survey?

A.  This survey was like an eye opener which showed that 12.5% of the students were using drugs or alcohol   and surprisingly most of the colleges were not ready to accept them.  Moreover it also revealed that 1/3 of these users were becoming addicts. So the survey gave us an idea about of the enormity of the problem of drug abuse. 

Q.  What made you evince such keen interest in this social evil of drug addiction and Alcoholism?  

A. Having worked in the US, Europe and the Middle East I was conscious of the fact that a large number of youth were involved in chemical substance abuse there. Their respective governments failed to respond seriously to the issue in the initial years because they had other serious problems on their agenda.    When they finally realized that 60% of their youth were addicted to various abuses they set aside lot of funds and took many initiatives to deal with the situation.  Having observed that situation I was aware of the gravity of the problem on hand here mainly because Dakshina Kannada has students studying from more than 38 countries in various institutions and I felt that the possibility of students falling prey to these abuses is high.  I wanted to do something from my side to tackle the problem in the early stages itself.

Q.  Is that what prompted you to become the Founder President of Link De-Addiction Centre?

A.  Though Link was established in 1991 it was registered as a Society in 1992 and I was elected as the Founder President in absentia by the members.  That got me fully involved with the centre and T S Thomas, who as the student leader of the group that had approached me for help, was appointed as the Project Coordinator.  He was extremely good in formalizing various programmes to create awareness and was instrumental in building Link from scratch thus giving an impetus to the various activities we undertook from time to time. 

Q.   How did you zero in on the name “Link” to this organization?

A.  Our logo of interlocked hands clearly symbolizes our motto of linking back those who are cut off from the realities of life and help them rebuild their disheveled lives.  Naturally we decided that it is appropriate to name it as “Link”.   

Q.   What was the Strategy Link adopted in the early stages to make its presence felt?

A.   To begin with, we succeeded in creating anti-addiction cells in colleges involving one lecturer and about 9 volunteers including student leader.  Link did not believe in directly involving in colleges and hence campaigning was carried out through these cells.  The first major campaign was in the form of slogan competition for the students with an incentive of 20 cash prizes. We wanted the students to clearly apply their mind to the issue of addiction to chemical substances and the competition was the best instrument to draw their attention.  The competition received overwhelming response from all the 32 colleges and the best 20 entries were chosen by a panel of 3 eminent citizens.  The slogan  that was chosen for the first prize read -  “puffs, sips, pills thrills but kills”, which was germane to our motto.

Q.   Was there any other way you involved the college students directly in creating awareness?

A.  In 1993 we organized anti-addiction week to create awareness and we succeeded in involving all sections of the society in the campaign.  For 7 days we had arranged different sessions to elicit response to drug addiction to drugs, alcohol and tobacco from students, teachers, religious leaders, legal personalities, parents and finally response of the society.  The students presented skits to give awareness to the parents on where they are erring vis-a-vis in bringing up children and also the need to maintain a strict vigil in their changing behavior, if any from time to time. 

Q.   Link had a coup of sort by organizing a student’s marathon with police support when there was Bharat Bandh?

A.  It was a feather in the cap of Link that in 1993 we organized a marathon and unfortunately there was Bharat Bandh on that day.  The marathon involved carrying the “torch of hope” from 4 corners of the district namely Konaje, Nitte, Manipal and Dharmasthala and the torch of hope to be gathered at the Nehru Maidan. The then DIG Bhonsle gave encouragement and protection for the marathon as a quid-pro-quo for having saved 8 of their policemen through the Link De-Addiction centre.    These campaigns helped us to create awareness about drug abuse and also about Link.

Q.  Was Link De-addiction Centre your first major involvement in social work field?

A.  My first involvement in social service in Dakshina Kannada was by helping to set up Xavier Educational Trust.  But Link is the first major organization in which I immersed myself fully during the initial period by staying back in Mangalore when my family was living in Bangalore.  I was so involved in its initial development my family even remarked that I was getting addicted to Link de-addiction centre.  It gives me immense joy when I see the smiles on the family members of the recovered patients.  I remember one lady who had come for counseling with her husband proudly lifting up the hand of her husband and saying ‘yes now I lift his hand in joy’ and that scene brought tears of joy in my eyes.  I enjoy that happiness of Linking back the distraught families.

Q.  What impelled   you to donate the present premises to Link De-Addiction Centre?

A.   In Bolar we were operating from a place which we had taken on lease from School of Social Work, Roshani Nilaya.  When they said they wanted premises back for their use we were in a quandary.  Having built this institution with so much care I was determined not to allow the centre to flounder.  I bought this half done hospital at Bajal and got it completed and now the centre is functioning from this new address for the last few months. It will be donated to Link after the formal inauguration of the premises, to be held soon.

Q.  Do you have plans to make Link self sustaining?

A.  It is my aim to make Link to stand on its own by setting up a separate source of fund to bridge the gap of running the centre.  I have set up a nursing women’s hostel, which is now ready so that the income generated from that hostel can be used for running the de-addiction centre.  That is my long term dream.  I am grateful to the Managing trustee members for their relentless work and unstinted support to make Link what it is today. It is their initiative and commitment which prompted me to donate this premises to the de-addiction centre.  The Managing Trustee comprises Dr Satheesh Rao – Working President, Dr Olinda Pereira, Vice President, Dr Praksh Therian, Vice President, Austin Peres, Secretary, Judith Mascarenhas, Treasurer and Abdul Rauif Puttige, Dr Ravish Thunga, Denis D Silva and Roshan Castelino as executive members.   With the involvement of such passionate and committed people Link has been able to emerge as a reputed and trustworthy   de-addiction centre. 

Florine Roche <br>Daijiworld Media Network
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Comment on this article

  • treatment, tina

    Tue, Dec 16 2014

    Good evening sir I am from bangalore my husband is a chronic alcoholic I wanted to get his treatment done from your centre I would like to no the cost details.

  • venkat, chennai

    Wed, Aug 20 2014

    would like to join your organisation

  • Deepa Pais, mangalore

    Thu, Apr 03 2014

    I would like to render my services as a counselor. I have done my M.Sc. Holistic Counselling from School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya
    Valencia, Mangalore

  • T S JOSE, Karimannoor

    Fri, Nov 25 2011

    May your spirited patients be cured by your real spirit.

  • sutar, gulbarga

    Fri, Nov 04 2011

    Dear sir/ madam
    my son 18 year old he has pain killer addict sine 3 years .  the pain killer tablet is Ultrcet.  It is possible to de addict in your hospital and the terms and condtion required to visit you.

    the patient is studying first year PUC in Gulbarga
    R. Sutar

  • Lydia , Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 29 2011

    Thank you for your comment. I also appreciate that you have come forward to help the poor. Mr. Ronald Colaco has helped us a lot to continue our mission in helping the addicts to lead a sober life. We are grateful to you if you are coming forward to help the needy patients. You can send Your donations to our office address
    LINK Anti Addiction Citizens committe
    Padil Post
    J,M. Road
    Mangalore - 575007
    A/c No. 9691
    Canara Bank, Morgansgate

    I spoke in the committe regarding that you want to help us. Everyone was happy. We would like to have donors like you. May God bless you and your family. When you come down mangalore please come to our centre. Thank you.

  • Lancy and Aileen D'Souza, Dubai

    Tue, Sep 13 2011

    Great job Ron. Congratulations and may God bless you and your family abundantly. We are proud of you Ron.

  • joegonsalves, Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 08 2011

    Ronnie. I join scores of people in saying KUDOS and WELL DONE to you. You have in the past and now helped people in various ways from different walks of life and brought relief to the suffering families.

    Your effort has borne excellent results and brought back smiles into people. I had the pleasure of meeting you last at the office of The Inspector General of people when my daughter Lorna and I were discussing with him our plans to make a presentation to the department of law and order on the problems faced by The Police and also the difficulties experienced by the general public in Mangalore.

    I am hoping to meet Ronnie during his next visit to Mangalore.

    Joe Gonsalves

  • sunil casius, mangalore

    Thu, Sep 08 2011

    Mr.Ronald colaso is good social worker , i heard lot about him, he is kind hearted , god bless u .

  • Shivani, Mangalore/Ireland

    Thu, Sep 08 2011

    Lik Trada was in its infancy when I had the opportunity to meet the residents for my research around 12 years ago.
    Thanks to Mr. Thomas and Dr. Raveesh Tunga for making such a difference in people's lives.

  • Victor Tauro Permude, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 07 2011

    Since Link has taken quite a prominent place in people's lives in Mangalore, I call upon all the members of the initial group that came together like Mr. T. S. Thomas, Mr.Wilson Furtado Barkur, Fr. James Mundakel, Mr. Binoy Thomas, Ms. Nirmala D Sa and Victor Tauro Permude, that is myself, to write your memories and send it across.

  • Jacinta D'Souza, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 06 2011

    This new centre at Bajal is a long awaited dream now fulfilled. Through this centre you have created a haven of hope and new life for our drug addicts and alcoholics. This initiative started at Roshni Nilaya by the MSW students in 1991 has come a long way because of the unstinted support of Mr. Ronald Colaco and his dedicated team.

    May the Almighty shower choicest blessings on all your ventures.

  • Judith L, Mumbai

    Tue, Sep 06 2011

    Dear Mr.Colaco, Mangalore is blessed to have a philantrophist like you. If all the rich people contribute atleast 2% and give back to society what God has given to them in abundance. Atleast the basic needs like food,clothing,shelter,medicalaid,education can be fulfilled. May God Bless Mr. Colaco and his family with goodhealth and prosperity.

  • hilary d'silva, niddodi/mira road

    Tue, Sep 06 2011

    a wonderful initiative.... congratulations to Colaco and his team...wish u all God's choicest blessings...

  • H M Pernal, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 06 2011

    This is the need of hour I feel true social concern. If possible try to spread awareness at grass root level i e reach out more remote villages. Even you can think of adopting a village also. You will be remembered for this. Congratulations team Colaco.

  • Stephen Pinto, Bendure, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 06 2011

    Dear Ronald, We pray that you may be further blessed and your noble thoughts may encourage others who are able to support such causes.

  • Victor Tauro Permude, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 06 2011

    When I thank Mr. Ronald Colaco for his kind gesture and taking LINK forward, I am ever grateful to Mr. T. S. Thomas for his vision and hard work of 18 years that has sustained LINK till this day.
    I too was a part of the initial group that came together in Fathima Retreat House when we were studying at Roshni Nilaya and we were brainstorming on what we must do and it was Thomas who came out with a suggestion that we need to focus on alcoholism that is Mangalore was known for and help families to build themselves up. I also thank Mr. Theodore Lasrado of Keerthi Adventure Club and former CLC director who had given us one day reflection session to clarify our own goals and a days adventure outing near Kodikal free of cost.
    Let us acknowledge people who have contributed to this great cause and Thanks to Mr. T.S. Thomas again.
    I am sure Mangalore community will be grateful to Mr. Ronald Colaco for helping Link to grow and reach out to many people.

  • A. D'Souza, Kodialbail

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Great job by Mr. Colaco. I have heard that he is very rich and kind hearted but I can not understand this contrast. While Reddy’ Gowda’s Yeddy’s are cheating people of Karnataka in crores Mr. Colaco is donating Rs 3.75 crores towards Links. Something is not adding up right. It also would be ideal if some training or guidance given to the parents of these addicts.

  • Tony Pinto, Manglore - Dubai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Wonderful work by Ronald Colaco hope Congress grand him a ticket for next general election so he can work hard & utilize GOVT money right for the community.

  • roshan malar, abudhabi

    Mon, Sep 05 2011


  • Irfan Sheikh, Udupi - doha

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    government should have done this kind of rehabilitation centres. We should be happy to know, person like Mr Ronald is taking initiative to build a good society. we must support this

  • Laxmi naik, mangalore

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    what i like in this is, you are very secular with due respect to all religion. hats off

  • Hilda Machado, mangalore

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Drug addiction is a killer disease, every parents must be aware this subject, specially parents of young / teenage children. I hope Link centre would create a awareness in the society and help such people who really lost the lives due to addiction.

  • jaison correa, dubai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Hope we had another Colaco in our community...excellent service to the community. May God bless you sir

  • agnelo fernandes, mangalore / dubai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    This is a great deed to human kind. I wish ever success to Mr Colaco, who is leading our community from front

  • Bennet Vas, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    May God Bless Mr.Ronald Colaco. A Rare and Priceless Jewel among us selfish people. I hope I will get the opportunity to meet him and work with him some day. A lay man doing the work of an institution with his own funds - a rare example for us to follow and support - Keep up the good work Sir !!

  • Austin Prabhu, Nantur/Chicago

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Dear Ronald Colaco, you are a God sent leader to Mangalorean Community. Your love and concern towards needy people to be highly appreciated. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavrs and God bless you always.

  • elias, mumbai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Youth are wasting their time and sick by consuming the drugs. First the Govt has to Ban the night parties after 10.00 pm except social ,religious functions.If allowed the result will be catastrophic

  • Rajesh Sequeira, Cordel, Dubai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Mr colaco you are a great gem this world. The simplicity and the good will you have towards your brothern has made yourself great.The younger generation has to learn a lot from you. God Bless you for the good things you do.Once again great artilce by florine

  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Dearest Colaco and Team Indeed its a timely thought and a project beyond appreciation. It takes real efforts and requires a great level of dedication, May god bless you all and grant you his choicest blessings to fulfill all your dreams.
    On behalf of Karavali Konkans, Mangalore.

  • vinu, bajal/dubai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011


  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM said " Charity is, indeed, a great thing, and a gift of GOD, and when it is rightly ordered, likens us to GOD
    himself, as far as that is possible for it is charity which makes the man".

    MR. RONALD COLOCO, I pray for
    GOD's abundance of blessings upon you. Also, I pray that those people with wealth will be inspired
    to follow your path to be GOOD
    SAMARITANS on this earth, to lift the hopeless sections of the society to a higher level in life.

  • sophia Fernandes, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    we are so glad that now we have a place of hope and strength for the well being of our youth who are victims of substance have truly been a wonderful team to reach out to our young people. the future of our country depends on the healthy formation of our families and children
    All the best Mr. Ronald colaco for your dedicated service to the needy.

  • dsouza Alice, Mangalore/Abudhabi

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Wonderful job Mr.Cloaco! keep it up, God bless u, we r proud of u. All the best De-Addition Centre!

  • arun olivera, mangalore / dubai

    Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Dear RONALD CLOACO u did wonderful job keep it up iam suport u .

  • Jolly and Rudolf , Mangalore/Abu Dhabi

    Sun, Sep 04 2011

    We are indeed proud to have Ron Colaco as a social worker/saviour of karnataka state. Hats off to him.

  • Aravind Prakash, Managalore/Dubai

    Sun, Sep 04 2011

    Wonderful work being done by Lin De-Addiction Centre under the able gudance of Mr. Ronald Cloaco. I have seen thier work as my Mangalore Residence is close by the old location of Link in Bolar and I have seen quite a few people being de-addicted at this centre. Going by all the news about the spurt in drug and alchol addiction prevalent in Mangalore today, we need the services of this organization and society should encourage them and help them in succeeding in thier endeavour. All the best to Link De-Addiction Centre! Please provide details where in donation s could be sent.

  • fr. juze vas svd, indore MP

    Sun, Sep 04 2011

    a worthwhile contribution to the transformation of the society a need of the time. congrats and God's blessings for all who have contributed in establishing this centre
    fr. juze vas svd

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Title: Mangalore: Link De-Addiction Centre : A Lifeline to Lost Lives

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