Ali: The decision to quit using was a turning point in my life

The beginning:

Ali is 43 and a recovered addict. His experience with drugs started with one of his relatives who incited him to take hashish when he was 14. Things evolved and he started using different types of drugs until he ended up with heroin. His addiction experience lasted for 11 years during which he lost his family and was imprisoned more than once.

A decisive decision:

“I took the decision to quit using” Ali continues “after my father’s health deteriorated and after three of my friends who quitted and recovered from addiction after being treated at the NRC. They suggested I should seek treatment at the centre. I did and recovered from my addiction. From his own experience, Ali said, addiction patients face a real dilemma in putting their hands on how to get effective treatment which will help them kick the habit of addiction, avoid relapsing once again and sustain their recovery.

The National Rehabilitation Centre:

Ali added “it is unfortunate that there is just one rehabilitation centre that treats addiction nationwide and it is the National Rehabilitation Centre in Abu Dhabi while there are addiction patients throughout the country and these people cannot find a suitable place for treatment”. “The majority of addiction patients who get referred by courts or police stations to addiction treatment clinics in hospitals” he continues “relapse after leaving these clinics. They are incarcerated inside these facilities for periods of several months during which the patient moves from being active to abstaining without recovering from addiction. He will not last long after his release to start using all over again”.

Prevention is better than a great deal of treatment:

Ali stresses that ‘following quitting use of drugs, addiction patients need rehabilitation programs which help them to protect themselves from relapsing and going back to using drugs, guide them to overcome obstacles and impede the negative thoughts which cross their minds from time to time and incite them to withdraw and start using once again.

Ali emphasized the importance that health and police authorities in the country consider addicts as patients who suffer an illness as diabetics, patients of blood pressure or other illness. Addiction patients need support and help throughout their lives in order to maintain their recovery. He would like to see a development of rehabilitation centres throughout the emirates of the country and support them with specialists and doctors. He also referred to the importance of revising current laws in such a way that those arrested for drug-related cases are not sent to prison as this will increase the number of patients as a result of beginners mixing up with experience users.

Individuals incarcerated should be referred to specialized rehabilitation centres. He stresses that prisons are not a treatment option for an addict and the only option is a rehabilitation centre. There the chances of recovery maintaining it increase.