PETALING JAYA: Family counselling must be strengthened to fight drug addiction because many youths involved came from families facing conflict or where parents had divorced, said a former drug user.
Abdul Azyadee Abdul Wahid, who is now the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) peer educator/role model contract staff, said family counselling programmes must be improved because many young addicts had relationship issues.
“Family conflict and divorce put children at risk of joining the wrong company,” he said,
He urged Parent-Teacher Associations, school counsellors and teachers to look into the issues faced by students at home.
“If they lacked training and had no budget, they can seek the help of non-governmental organisations,” said Abdul Azyadee, who is also president of Peer Support Association of Malaysia.
He added that the anti-drug programme should be held monthly or at least three times a year, instead of annually at schools.
Speaking from personal experience, he said family conflict drove him into smoking and later drug addiction and robbery.
The 42-year-old security firm manager said that as the result of difficulties at home, he hung out with friends and picked up smoking from them when he was nine.
By the age of 12, he was smoking marijuana and by 15 he was taking heroin.
He then joined a gang and was arrested for theft when he was 17.
He was arrested eight times, he said.
He said he started with petty theft and learnt how to commit bigger crimes from other prisoners.
“I was also a drug pusher,” Abdul Azyadee said.
He added that the turning point in his life came when he had turned 30.
“I decided to change because I wanted to stop hurting my parents,” he said.
While in prison, Abdul Azyadee was sent for drug rehabilitation and after he was released, he sought help from the AADK.
Abdul Azyadee underwent detoxification at Pusat Serenti in Sungai Besi (Kuala Lumpur) but added that recovery was difficult because of social stigma.
He added that his family had lost trust in him.
Abdul Azyadee said the AADK officers were supportive and understood him.
“I was determined to change. I didn’t care about what people thought,” he said, adding that he even decided to stay away from his old friends.
“When they called me, I told them I was no longer interested in it (drugs),” he said.
Abdul Azyadee was later roped in by AADK to help them with their programmes.