Drug abuse survivors narrate painful ordeals  

DRUG abuse survivors have had touching stories of hardship they went through when they were glued to the addiction.

During the national event to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Kaluta Stadium in Arusha on Sunday, the survivors narrated their hard experiences before President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was the chief guest.

They said the use of drugs was a bitter thorn in their hearts, to the point of losing their personalities in society and even their jobs.

Ms Judith Uroki, who has been under treatment for 13 years at the Mental Clinic Centre at the Mount Meru Regional Referral Hospital in Arusha, said she unintentionally, began using the illegal drugs.

To her, marriage turned into a pulling factor, as she did not know that her husband was a drug user.

She explained that she got married soon after completing ordinary level education and started smoking cigarettes.

She claimed that for the first seven months of their marriage she was unaware that her husband was using narcotics by mixing it with cigarettes.

“I was sharing a cigarette with my husband without knowing that I was also inhaling drugs and poison got into my blood veins,” she narrated.

“There was a time when I travelled to Moshi to attend funeral services, where after three days, I developed a high fever. I was sent to hospital for testing but nothing was diagnosed. I then travelled back to my husband while still sick.

“Upon telling him, he handed over to me a cigarette to smoke. I refused because I was very ill but he insisted that I should smoke to get better. Immediately after taking a puff, I vomited and from there, I got cured,” she told the well-attended event.

Thereafter, her husband revealed to her that what she was experiencing was due to missing using drugs for some days, telling her that he was mixing cigarettes with drugs.

“I really wanted to stop, but every time I stayed sober just for one day, the pain became so severe that I had to smoke again,” she explained.

Judith also noted that because of engaging in drug dealing, she spent four years in prison, a situation which made her stay far from her two children .

“I used to inject up to 15 dice 3 to 4 times a day while I was pregnant with my third child. The situation that led me to start stealing from people’s shops, which I occasionally got caught and was badly beaten up,” she said, with tears dripping off her cheeks.

Adding: “I was beaten so severely the other day that I nearly had a miscarriage. I bled a lot until the good Samaritans helped me and connected me with YCR (The Youth and Community Rehabilitation of Arusha), who took me and introduced methadone doses.”

Another survivor, Mr Twaha Mtunga, from a Sober House based in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, claimed that the use of drugs has led him to lose his two jobs.

He said he was initially employed as a police officer but was fired due to drug abuse.

“I used to sometimes bury my gun in the ground while on duty so that I would have time to go to sniff heroin,” Mtunga noted.

He explained that after he was fired he studied a teaching course and began a career as a teacher in Mwanza, where he was also sacked because of drug abuse.

Moreover, the Commissioner of Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), Mr Aretas Lyimo, congratulated President Samia for her efforts to combat the use of drugs in the country, including allocating 2bn/- for the construction of a National Rehabilitation Centre.

“The centre will be built in Itega, Dodoma and will have various programmes, including life skills, rehabilitation services and complementary therapy services,” he said.

According to him, these programmes will assist addicts in gaining knowledge that will help them become self-employed so they do not use drugs again.

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