To understand the situation better, let us give you a brief of how the problem persists and a history of what makes it possible.

We see that the increasing new trade routes and economic advancements in the region along with the new Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor which has opened up new opportunities to give the Indian economy the much-needed leap forward in this current Millennium. With increasing trade and connectivity with South East Asian countries through the North-Eastern border corridors under the ‘Act East Policy’ is slowly making Eastern India a hub for trade and economic activities.

That said, one must also understand the dark trades of narcotics trafficking coming in from the neighboring Golden Triangle, famous for its opium and heroin production has also been flourished. Along with modern trade, huge quantities of illicit narcotics have also been riding the new route along the Indo-Myanmar highway which threatens to destabilize the health and wellbeing of this eastern society.

The problem gets even more serious with an already existing problem of alcohol obsession being rampant in the region. Alcohol is a part and parcel of many cultural traditions in the Northeastern states and the Eastern Himalayan regions of Sikkim-Darjeeling. Here, alcoholism is accepted to a large extent as long as the alcoholics don’t create a nuisance in society.

Additionally, the illegal sale of prescription medication has also been found to be easily accessible at local medical stores. Some unscrupulous people thrive on such trades and are not bothered by the age, appearance, or mental condition of the buyer. For them, the profit they make is above and beyond all consideration of humanity.

1How do we deal with this situation?

In such situations, the best way is to spread awareness amongst the people living in the region. It is unlikely that the police departments and government agencies can shoulder all the responsibility of curbing this drug menace. There are just too many options in the market to get high or for the government to ban. Additionally, the ones that own the drug chains are incredibly influential and they are never shut down because they are a-part of the system that rule and govern everything.

The best way to fight this is with community involvement and positively engaging the youth and those most vulnerable. At our rehabilitation center, it is not just the patients we work with, but also involve their families and make them understand on how to deal with their addiction.

2Do you think Addiction is just a bad habit?

No, calling addiction a habit is to trivialize the problem; it is a disease that affects the mind, body, and soul, just like any other disease out there. An addict is a person who is physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance.

Ask any addict on how they started – they certainly didn’t set out to become an alcoholic/addict. First, it was for fun and pleasure or to momentarily escape some mental tensions. However in time it becomes a habit. And this habit is soon converted in a deliberate control system that causes dis-ease. To use is as a choice but to quit once you've got the habit is almost impossible because of its ‘addictive trap’ which then reflects as a craving. Its destructive nature engulfs the user to the brink of annihilation. Only professional help can help arrest the disease.

3What sets apart HELP rehabilitation center apart from others?

First, we are a group of people who have been drug addicts and have seen addiction tear lives apart and destroy families. We somehow managed to cure ourselves of the disease and survived.

Our rehabilitation center is our way of telling our own stories to people who are suffering from what we had gone through in the past.

Coming out from addiction is not about setting restrictions alone, but a lifestyle change which needs regular practice and adjustments. The idea here is to motivate the users to bring about this change in their lives and prepare them for the road called life ahead. Many times we find ourselves sharing our own stories of addiction which we have found out is an effective way to connect with users. They listen to us and relate to our stories which help us gain their trust quicker and we’ve found it also motivates them.

4How does a normal day at the center looks like?

Our day begins early at 6:00 AM followed by meditation, yoga, and a brisk morning walk. Every day we assign a TDA (Therapeutic Duty Assignment) where the users are engaged in daily activities to help them focus and strengthen their mental resolve.

During the day, we have a session on reading literature on addiction and writing about their life, sharing stories about their addictions and introspective discussions where we help them understand how their addiction have affected them and their loved ones.

The evenings are mostly games and group discussions where the focus is to help the users develop an integral bond with themselves and others. We understand the effect of positive partnerships and companions go a long way in helping build confidence to fight the disease.

Before we call it a day, we make sure to have a review of the day to make the users realize it is possible to spend the day without needing to use drugs or any such addictive substances.

5Can you please tell us more about how you involve family and friends in such treatments?

Even before we involve the families, we have a group of professional doctors and counselors associated with HELP. Our therapies and counseling sessions are medically proven and have been used in such treatments for a long time now.

However, our experiences tell us that de-addiction is not just about treatments and counseling; it is more about building confidence and providing a support system for the users to realize they can do without the drugs in their lives.
Additionally, once in a week, we organize open-mic music sessions where HELP residents perform and enjoy listening to songs, play their guitars, and build a healthy bond with other residents. Every month, we also invite families to spend the day at our center, learn more about addiction and how to handle addiction situations at home. You see, the families are the first contact point for the users during their addiction and it is critical that they are educated about it too. All in all, it is a holistic approach that we are adopting here at HELP. More than just treatment, our objective is to build a robust support system for the users, make them feel valued, boost their confidence, and help them realize the beauty of life without having to abuse it unnecessarily.

In Summation:

We come to you in the best of interests, in integrity and diligence to let you have a second chance at life. We are unlike other centers. Know that we care and we try our best to ensure you are able to beat the habit as conveniently as possible. That is why we have assorted programs for you to use that fit around your schedule and convenience. With programs suited for complex needs, you can choose courses that best suit you to bring out the best results in beating the habit.

This is not only community service; it is the best gift one can give themselves or their loved ones when faced with the ills of such a disease. In the end this program is not only about second chances but more precisely this is about you. So avail of it. It is your chance to a new life that is filled with Love, compassion, friendship, purpose and Hope.