If you’ve always had the perception that drug addicts are people who live on the streets or are high school dropouts, you may wanna change that thought as highly educated and professional people can also succumb to the effects of drugs.
This was true for Dr Sasitharan Ayani, a medical graduate from Russia who did his housemanship at a government hospital in Johor Baru. The 39-year-old, born in Seremban, started taking drugs nine years ago when he became overwhelmed with stress from work.
He was required to work long shifts, even working up to 48 hours without any proper break. Omg, that’s so inhumane!
In order to cope with the lethargy, Dr Sasitharan started experimenting with methamphetamine to boost his energy levels, but soon began getting addicted to the drug.
“At that time, I was stressed (from work). I was introduced to methamphetamine and it was the booster I needed for long working hours. I only wanted energy, that’s all,” he said, according to Malay Mail.
“In my mind then, I thought I will be spared from addiction because I thought as a doctor, I’ll be able to keep (the urges) under control, but I was wrong as the drugs got a hold of me and made me a hardcore addict.”
Dr Sasitharan soon realised that he couldn’t live life normally without taking the drugs and wanted to start afresh.
He then willingly checked himself into Rumah Pengasih (an addiction treatment centre) six years ago, but left the place in 2017 because his father was ill. Not fully recovered, he relapsed six months later after he suffered depression and received insults from his relatives.
“Two months ago, I returned here (Rumah Pengasih) because I realised I needed help and a support system. I am still undergoing treatment and observation to ensure I don’t relapse again.”
Dr Sasitharan added that being addicted to meth often resulted in him having angry outbursts and sudden mood changes. This in turn led to his marriage being called off just 20 days before the event.
According to The Star, Pengasih president Ramli Abd Samad explained that drugs are no longer used only to feel ‘high’ at night clubs, but are now often used to boost one’s energy and confidence.
“Previously, drugs were used for recreational purposes – to enjoy and be high at night clubs. But now, many people are using it for work purposes, such as to boost confidence while giving presentations and so on,” he said.
“This is because some modern drugs also can boost concentration and energy.”
He then went on to say that the current anti-drug campaigns have become outdated and are no longer relevant to the generation of today, and mentioned that Malaysia does not have a helpline that people can call for support and advice on drug addiction.
“For social problems such as depression and abuse, there are dedicated helplines – but for drug addicts, there is no support system. They (drug abusers) want to change but there is no strong support from family and society,” he said.
“The situation is getting complicated and drug users now are increasingly dangerous and violent. It is time for the country’s support system to help drug addicts in a more serious manner.”
We hope Malaysia will start taking drug addiction seriously and that they’ll provide drug helplines for those who are seeking help. After all, addiction can happen to anyone!
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