Of Journalism

December 14, 2008

A single Puff…

Filed under: Uncategorized — fawadalishah @ 1:06 pm

It was just one cigarette and…

By Fawad Ali Shah

PESHAWAR: Iqbal Khan was pushed to the dark and desolate valleys of drug addiction on a moonlit night by a friend at his college hostel and the night proved the starting point of an unendurable journey for his family.

“Just one night with my friend at his Peshawar college hostel proved night-mare for my future,” Khan, 40, narrated his woeful story to the Daily Times with tears tracing their paths down his cheeks.

A resident of Gunbad, Mardan district, Khan is one of hundreds of drug addicts being treated at the rehabilitation centers of Dost Foundation. “I was a routine smoker, but that night the cigarette offered to me was not a routine one,” said Khan who has been undergoing rehabilitation exercises at the treatment center for the last two months.

“After taking a puff, I felt it had far sweeter flavour and demanded another one. And then there was no going back – I became a junkie lost in the world of addiction,” he said

“My wife, Jamila, was unaware of my addiction. We’re a happy family of four and she really loved me. At times, I got rude to her but she never complained and always welcomed me with a smile,” Khan said bunching up his forehead.

Two months past and his home sweet home turned into a hell. “I did my master’s from the University of Peshawar. We had lands in the village and as the addiction got intense, I started selling my lands to continue my addiction. I was offered jobs in several government departments but I refused because of low morale,” Khan said.

He said he was really proud of his wife who stood on his side while he was lost in the world of drug addiction for five long years. However, studies of his children got affected.

He said one day one of his friends took him to a drug rehabilitation center where he was motivated to abandon drugs. He said after completion of one-month course, the patients were assigned different tasks like security and cooking to prepare them for a practical life.

Dost Foundation is a non-governmental organisation working for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and welfare of poor women and children across Pakistan.

The foundation’s project director, Muhammad Ayub, said that their mission was to kill the drug culture. “We have established dropping centers in all districts of NWFP from where addicts are brought to the rehabilitation center,” he said, adding that presently they were ministering to 10,000 registered patients, excluding women.

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