FO­CUS ON

New Straits Times - - Letters -

IWILL never for­get my visit to the women’s out­pa­tient treat­ment cen­tre at Pereira Ros­sell Hos­pi­tal in Mon­te­v­ideo, Uruguay, in Novem­ber 2015. I was in the coun­try in my ca­pac­ity as pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Nar­cotics Con­trol Board and had the chance to par­tic­i­pate in a group ther­apy ses­sion with some of the drug-de­pen­dent women at the hos­pi­tal. Many of them spoke about how they had be­come es­tranged from their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties as a re­sult of their drug de­pen­dence; some had been liv­ing on the streets. Many held their chil­dren in their arms.

I met Ana-Paula, a mother in her 20s, whose op­ti­mism and warmth I ad­mired, given her on­go­ing strug­gle. I was deeply moved by her story of how she had sought treat­ment for her coca paste de­pen­dence upon dis­cov­er­ing she was preg­nant. She re­alised she had lost con­trol of her life and wanted noth­ing more than to have a healthy baby. She had suc­ceeded in not us­ing coca paste for the past few months, found a

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