JOHOR BARU: After abusing drugs for 17 years Razlan Zainal Abidin (pic) was given a second chance in life and he decided to make it count.
Now, more than 25 years after kicking his addiction, Razlan has helped over 300 drug addicts rebuild their lives in his rehabilitation centre called Rumah Hijrah.
The father of three used up all of his Employees Provident Fund savings of RM100,000 to open the centre.
“The money may not be much but it was enough to kick-start operations,” said Razlan, 65.
“It was a huge risk as I did not have any experience. But I was determined to make a difference and spent the first few years visiting other rehab centres in Asia to learn how to run such places,” he said.
He said he had also delayed his own retirement as an auditor to ensure that the rehab centre could continue running.
Founded in 2010, Rumah Hijrah is located near Hospital Permai here.
It is a place for drug addicts seeking help to kick their habit and gain skills that will be useful for them in life.
“Although I cannot say that everyone who walks out of here is able to live a life without drugs there are indeed those who did. To me, that is all that matters,” said Razlan.
He said that many people turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with their emotions.
“We need to help them discover the shortcomings of their method first.”
“We will then try to stabilise them physically and mentally when they start the programme and help them unlearn the addiction,” he said.
The centre, he said, was assisted by visiting psychologists and counsellors.
Razlan said those who came to Rumah Hijrah would also work at a factory to give them a sense of purpose and responsibility.
Razlan, who had relapsed in the past and faced social stigma, is able to draw on his experiences to better understand addiction and its consequences.
Razlan, who is also pursuing further studies on addiction, said one of the keys to helping former addicts from relapsing is to have support from their families.