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     Volume 4 Issue 3 | July 9, 2004 |


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Very little has ever been done to bring back drug abusers to normal life. Abusers are usually lost in their habit. And the disdain and apathy that their addiction induces in friends and relatives only worsen the situation. Now, that scenario must change for the benefit of both -- ones who are caught in the web of addiction and the rest.

To mark the International Day for "prevention of drug abuse and illicit trafficking", programmes were organised to initiate a change in the outlook. CREA (Centre for Rehabilitation of Drug Addiction) and ALO, meaning ‘light’ in English, staged a function to mark the event at Rabindra Sharobor amphitheater at Dhanmondi on June 25.

On the occasion, many rehabilitated addicts spoke their minds, and they were all unanimous on the issue of opening up and feeling free to consult people and to let friends and relatives know about their peril in order to come out of the vicious cycle.

ALO, an organisation that works for awareness of drug users, arranged a musical programme. But music was not the only thing that brought several exponents of the field under one banner. Alongside vocal presentations, there was a point to be made. It was about awareness of both addicts and people around them. The programme of CREA started off with the Director General of Narcotics Department, Kamaluddin Ahmed's speech. And what made it a concert of concerned minds, is that the parents whose children were once lost in drug addiction, the teachers who helped them through it, and most of all, the children, who are past the nightmare of addiction, got a chance to reveal their hearts.

A drug addict, once out of the habit, can certainly put things in proper perspective. When one boy came to the stage and boldly retraced his days of bingeing, it was an education for many. He called the initial attempts at binging as being ‘moments-of-happiness’, which later turned out to be a horrifying cycle. How a person can be totally thrown out of the community and how an addict gets hooked is only one part of the ordeal, and the other part is the urgency to raise money to feed the habit.

"It takes Tk 50 to 500 each day to continue to feed such cravings depending on the addict's need. It is like a fever, and if he or she fails to bring it to the notice of others, the chance of recovery would be nil. One who wants to come out of this cycle will have to ask for help. There are plenty of clinics now, which are taking in such patients," he added.

Iqbal Faruk Milky, Director of CREA, believes that making young people aware of the hazard is the first step. He says, "We are trying to remove several misconceptions through our programmes. Many believe Marijuana is natural and does not have any after-effect; with heroin oozing the mind with happiness and alcohol giving pleasure and releasing energy, they are often wrongly considered to be stimulants. All these lead to severe consequences, especially with adolescents, the outcome is disastrous."

"What these young people need is proper guidance from the family, attention from near ones to help them stay away from drugs," emphasised a parent. Shahedul Islam Helal, a father of an addict said, "These kids should open up to their parents. We, as parents, should give more time to our children. There are 25 lakh addicts in the country right now and a big percentage of abuses results from our inability to tackle the problem of drug trafficking." One of the teachers who attended the programme came up with the most empathetic way of dealing with addicts. He said, "We should not hate the drug addicts and leave them to deal with it all by themselves. Rather, we should take care of them and explain the consequences to the ones who are still young."

A very emotional Anusheh Anadil, lead singer of the band 'Bangla' then shared her views. She had to go through a rehabilitation programme -- she was honest with her confession. "I was once a drug addict myself and I know how much pain one has to go through. There are plenty of female addicts who cannot find rehabilitation centres dedicated to women only. And they cannot quite open up as their male counterparts do. My parents were well off and therefore could afford the treatment, but think of those women who remain helpless without such support. So, it is my plea to all of you who want to try it out for the sake of curiosity or even out of frustration-- please say NO to Drugs."

Faizul A Tanim

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