TODAY -

Former addicts share their stories
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 25 2019: With rampant drug abuse and alcoholism rapidly rising across the State, incidents of youths and people getting trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction is now common.

However, in the backdrop of this appalling situation, there are also many youth who have been successful in breaking this extremely hard-to-break cycle of addiction.

Naoba (name changed) is one of those youths who have successfully given up on heroin and has received a new lease on life.

He fell prey to drugs at a tender age and had been enslaved by addiction for many years.

Sharing his nightmarish ordeal, Naoba said that he grew up as a meritorious student during the early part of his childhood days.

Stating that he occasionally started smoking heroin during VIII standard and later began injecting the same stuff, he asserted that he never believed that he would become addicted one day.

"I was deeply shocked and depressed on learning that my father had eloped with a new wife and had settled somewhere.

In search of a way to vent my thoughts, I found a peer group comprising many local elders and they introduced me to alcohol and then to heroin", he claimed.

Maintaining that he got addicted to heroin after a few years, the 19-year old boy confessed that his life had been completely ruined and he had resorted to many dishonest acts just to get his heroin dose.

"However, I ultimately found a new lease on life after I went for treatment at a rehab centre in 2017.I was not successful in my attempts to stay clean even though I took treatment at other rehab centres before 2017" he added.

Naoba further expressed keen desire to continue his education as he dropped out during Xth standard and lamented that he is still facing a lot of discrimination in society because of his past.

On the other hand, John (name changed), another 19 year old youth who stopped using heroin and all forms of drug, recalled his past life claiming that he witnessed so much quarrelling and brawling between his mother and other family members (particularly with his grandmother), following the death of his father due to AIDS while he was studying in class I.He said that this led him and his mother to leave home and stay in his mother's maternal home.

Ever since then, he was brought up in his mother's maternal home in a very secluded atmosphere.

After he returned to his late father's home at Yaiskul at the age of 12/13, John got involved with a peer group and began using alcohol and heroin.

Due to his addiction, his life deteriorated to a great extent forcing him to drop out at class XI although he used to be the class topper in his early days.

Claiming that those around him do not trust him today even when he has stayed clean for around 2 years, he appealed to the society to be kind and understanding of drug addicts and to help bring them back to the mainstream instead of harassing them.

John also said that he wish to take part in organizing awareness programmes about addiction in the State and in taking up joint initiatives with local MLAs to bring back drug abusers in different localities to the mainstream society.

Geetchandra (name changed) who shares a similar story of addiction to heroin for several years before he finally gave up in 2017, also recollected his past life and spoke about his harrowing experiences with drugs.

He said that none of the addicts start taking drugs with the intent to become addicts someday, even though different circumstances and factors led them to use drugs.

"Treat drug addiction as a social problem and not as a personal problem and help in rehabilitating them", he further appealed to the public.

Meanwhile, Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) president RK Nalinikanta stressed on the importance of creating a suitable platform for drug addicts to help them return to their normal lives apart from effectively implementing harm reduction strategies in combating the drugs and alcoholism problem in the State.

He mooted the idea of formulating and implementing a State-specific drug policy to ensure smooth and effective dealing of the issues faced by drug addicts like harassment, social discrimination, stigmatization and rehabilitation.

Noting that the National AIDS Control Programmes became effective only after the involvement of NGOs and CVOs who work in the field of drugs and its related issues, Nalinikanta stated that the kind of State-specific drug policy which he suggests should accommodate the optimum role of CSOs and NGOs working in the field of drugs.

There is also the growing need for intensifying harm reduction programmes and adopting more strategies to ensure the safest way of using drugs to the drug addicts to curb the menace of HIV, HCV and many other diseases in addition to the other risks associated with drug abuse.

A huge number of the State's population is now again affected by several blood borne and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and HCV after abstaining from drugs.

Many individuals have also died of drug overdose.

These are all the perilous effect of the shortage or weak harm reduction programmes in the past many years, the CoNE president further pointed out.


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