Mon, 07 Feb 2000

Family, community support key to ex-addicts recovery

BOGOR (JP): While it will take at least two years for a total absence from drugs, support from the family and the community is needed to prevent ex-addicts from re-consuming drugs, an official said on Saturday.

"Support from the family and environment is important to ensure that the ex-addicts will no more consume drugs after completing their three to four months here," said Salamun, chairman of the Darul Ichsan Islamic Boarding School.

The school, which is located in Selawangi village, Cariu subdistrict, Bogor, some 76 kilometers east of Jakarta, runs a rehabilitation center for drug addicts.

"The detoxification process, or releasing drugs from the body, is relatively fast and easy.

"Our mentors here control the students's attitude and behavior, and monitor their progress on daily basis," he said.

"But who can guarantee that they will not use drugs again after they return to their families?" he asked.

Since its establishment a year ago, the Darul Ichsan rehabilitation center has treated 310 drug-addicts, 20 of whom were females.

Salamun admitted that the school did not always succeed with its programs as some 20 percent of the students failed to complete the program.

"Some addicts managed to escape from this isolated place or their families forced us to release their children," he said.

The 33-hectare center is located in a valley, which is not easily reached from the highway.

"Though the area is isolated, but we use a non-isolationist system to treat the addicts -- there are no fences here. This enables the addicts freer to concentrate on their rehabilitation programs," said Salamun.

He admitted that it would require more time to ascertain whether the rehabilitation program was successful or not.

"It's internationally agreed that we need at least two years before we declare an ex-addict as totally free from drugs.

"We can't declare that now. We have to wait another year," he said.

A standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) stipulates that three consecutive years are needed to confirm that a person is clean from drugs.

Salamun said the center integrated medical, religious and psycho-social approaches to help the addicts recover.

"We offer many programs to the students, mostly slanted toward vocational skills," he said, while citing calligraphy and making salted-eggs as examples.

The students also have physical activities such as pencak silat (traditional martial arts) and hiking on the hilly site.

Salamun said it was important for the participants to continue programs after they return home.

"That's how the family can help the addicts. Don't let them be inactive. Urge them to socialize with the community," he said.

A participant, Sidqi Najib, 17, said he was pleased with the programs offered by Darul Ichsan.

"They make me move every day and offer more activities than just religious rituals," said Najib, who consumed drugs for two years since he was in junior high school.

Najib's father said he 'abducted' his oldest son to the rehabilitation center.

"We only told Najib that we were going to a villa. He was flying at that time," he said.

Another participant Mirza, 26, said he was working for a shoe factory before he decided to enter the center.

"I told my mother that I was tired of being an addict. It was up to her where she would send me," he told reporters.

"I'm quite happy here, free from the drugs. But I don't know whether I will be able to face the challenges once I return to Jakarta," he said. (05)