The man concluded by saying: “Don’t be afraid to say NO.” A former drug-user, now an anti-drug activist, shared his experiences with drugs and rehabilitation. He began smoking in his early teens. When caught red-handed by his mother, his father backed him up. “If a man doesn’t smoke, who is going to?”

Since then, he felt manly with every ounce of nicotine ingested into his bloodstream. Soon, he promoted himself from cigarettes to marijuana and eventually to other drugs. With it, he was euphoric; without it, he was in anxiety and depression. He had become a drug addict. People in our society started calling him smacke/tyabe.

Temptations are high. Addictions dangerous. Despite knowing this, the problem is ever expanding. Some cases are due to ignorance, while most are acts of negligence. With human tendency to do things that are tagged ‘Do not’, rules are broken.

An individual’s drug addiction also invades his family, finance, reputation and happiness. Narcotic substances may provide temporary happiness but they may also totally ruin one’s life. Some may argue saying that they have the right to live the way they choose. Of course, it is their life. But, one life is associated with many other lives and any harm to that life can have the same impact on his/her loved and dear ones.

Going to a rehabilitation centre for cure involves any of the 4 Ps: Parents, Police, Physique and Personal. Often, the first three are not as effective as the last to help an addict give up an addiction.

Pressure from parents, fear of the police and the degradation of health with weight loss are often forced cases of rehabilitation. Unless an individual truly feels the bad effect of addiction in his heart and vows to change himself, rehabilitation centres cannot be of much support.

If people can adapt to new environment and ideas, people can also change their habits for good. It may take time but one day, it will all be worth it. Whether it be alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, one kind of addiction is not better than the other. So the next time you order your fourth bottle of beer or open your second packet of cigarettes, know the limit and put your will-power to test.