‘Reformed’ heroin addict in warning to youth
More than 20 years of drug abuse cost Tareq his marriage, his friends, family and his job in the public sector.
And now the 46-year-old - who has been clean for four months - has urged young people not to make the same mistakes he did.
7DAYS spoke to Tareq, who asked not to give his second name, after his recovery at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Abu Dhabi.
The Emirati was an addict for almost 26 years, spending his time and money on heroin.
It drove his wife and family away. He said he angrily abused his parents when they confronted him.
Tareq finally faced his addiction after one of his friends almost died of an overdose.
“Drugs almost destroyed me,” said Tareq, who started using at 20 after falling in with a group of friends who were into drugs. He said he felt peer pressure to follow. “I was disowned by my family and friends.” Using heroin on a daily basis made him further lose self-confidence, which also resulted in him being fired from work.
“I lost my job because of substance abuse. I became unemployed and useless,” said Tareq. “I also got divorced.” He said he could not remember how much money he would spend on drugs, but that it cost him dearly in every way. He said narcotics By Ismail Sebugwaawo led to psychological problems and he became introverted. “I never wanted to talk to anyone,” he said. He started drinking, which made it even worse as he became more aggressive and rude.
“After drinking, I would abuse my parents whenever they said something about me.”
Tareq said that one day, one of his friends was hospitalised and almost died.
“He only just survived after a drug overdose,” he said.
“God just helped him recover after spending weeks in hospital. I spoke to a friend, also, a former addict who advised me to seek treatment from the National Rehab. He told me the same rehab also helped him quit substance abuse.” Tareq said he has been receiving treatment for more than seven months now. The centre treats UAE nationals in programmes lasting eight, 12, and 16 weeks. Addicts who hand themselves in are not prosecuted.
“I am so grateful that the treatment and counselling have helped me quit drugs,” he said.
“I am a reformed man now and have been able to reunite with family and friends.”