Drug abusers who are undergoing rehabilitation feel that societal support is necessary for proper rehabilitation.
Thirty-year-old Biraj Kardong is undergoing treatment at Felicity Foundation, a counselling-cum-rehabilitation centre at Hengerabari here. Biraj was an injecting drug user (IDU) who has already spent five months at the centre. Biraj said societal support, though a slow process, is much important for an individual to recover from the influence of drugs.
“People surrounding us, including family, friends and neighbours, regain confidence after finding us back to normal. They are at least very happy to see us not stealing any more. I was a severe drug user. Along with injecting drugs, I was also under influence of other substances like brown sugar, tablets and addiction associated with the drugs rather than the substance itself. I was constantly looking out for a substance to get high,” Biraj told this correspondent.
Siladitya Chakraborty, who runs Felicity Foundation, is a former drug abuser. Recalling his earlier plight, he stressed that the role of society in rehabilitating drug users is paramount. “Drug abusers get it from society itself. The same society at a point of time turns its back to a situation getting out of control. Every stakeholder of society, including family, friends, administration and police must go hand-in-hand to tackle the drug menace. After all, a drug abuser is a part of society,” Chakraborty said.
“After running away from home I found myself at Guwahati railway station. Friends and family members were not willing to accept me as I used to steal money from them. If I could not lay my hands on money, I used to sell things to satisfy my craving for drugs,” he added.
Senior consultant psychiatrist Dr Jayanta Das said that the war against drug abuse should not be restricted to a particular day. Rather, it should be an everyday campaign.
“Such a massive problem afflicting society cannot be confronted in a single day. For the last 30 years, events and organisations have not been able to encounter the problem. Some problems like the drug menace can be tackled in a silent manner. Demand for drugs among individuals should be the key area that should be stressed, rather than the supply. Reduced demand for drugs will automatically cut off supply. The world is spending billions of dollars to cut off supply while the US spends around $20 million to cut of supply of drugs,” Das said.
Felicity Foundation currently rehabilitates 63 individuals, mostly IDUs, including women. GOLD (Global Organisation for Life development), an NGO, has been working with 600 IDUs in the city.
GOLD (Global Organisation for Life development) organised a daylong programme on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Guwahati railway station.
The state social welfare department, along with the Narcotics Control Bureau, also organised a programme on the occasion. Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal was present on the occasion.