By Evelin Jaita Karmokar
He is the man with tranquil eyes and purity beaming through his white Panjabi. Although now he lives a simpler life with his wife and only son, but this was not always the case. Nowadays, he is a man who says his prayer five times a day with absolute devotion. Anisuzzaman is an old town resident, who was born and brought up in Keraniganj of Dhaka city. Now he is working as an in charge of ration store for Bangladesh Police Department.
But his young days were very different from the present. He was sitting in a very calm manner like he was ready to confess all the past incidents of those dark days from his life. Anisuzzaman completed Secondary School Certificate (SSC). When he was a school boy, he smoked marijuana in minimal amount with his friends. Later, he started to take heroine and pethidine when he began to work in the ration store.
He became a complete addict when he met one of his old friend who was a regular drug user. After that he started using drugs with him regularly. He used around 25 cigarettes mixed with heroine every day. He skipped office regularly to spend most of his time using drugs. But the excessive use of drugs started to leave marks on his face, he started worrying as he did not want to lose his job. He tried to quit this habit all by himself, for almost one and half months he was sober but then he relapsed. Around that time he could not afford his regular dosage; so when his friend advised him to go for cheaper heroine in injectable form, he didn’t resist. ”At that point in my life I had to have heroine otherwise my whole body would ache badly, I couldn’t concentrate at work or in anything”, he said.
He also added, “One incident hit me hard. One day my son was telling my wife that, my father doesn’t love me and he doesn’t bring any gift for me. That day I couldn’t face him. I felt that, I was an incapable father and husband. Then I finally decided to quit. I knew about the dropping center (an intervention for opiate- dependent persons that replaces illicit drug use with medically prescribed, orally administered opiates known as methadone) of CARE’s People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) program, as it’s near to my residence. So I decided to go there”.
In consultation with the doctors and counsellors of PWID program, he enrolled for the Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) process. He said,” After starting the therapy, I did not face much difficulties as the staff of the dropping center are very helpful, all of them assisted me a lot for determining the dose of oral therapy as per my physical condition”. He also said,” My intention was to quit drugs. After enrolling for OST, I stopped feeling the urge to use drugs. I also quit cigarettes and my quick recovery wouldn’t have been possible without CARE’s PWID program”.
Anisuzzaman completed the OST process and became drug free within a year. He also took his friends in the dropping center to quit, who are now under the OST process. According to him, ”While I was on drugs, I made my family suffer a lot, I let them starve, couldn’t provide the daily necessities, all just to pay for my drugs. I would like to suggest everyone who are using drugs that renew your life, because it’s never too late. I had been an evasive person earlier but now I just want to concentrate for the wellbeing of my family and career“.
The team leader of PWID program, Abu Taher said, “The aim of the project is to reach out to every injectable drug user and implement OST among the users, OST process prevents sharing of needles which stops the transmission of HIV Aids”.