‘It took me 30 years to realise I was wasting my life’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/it-took-me-30-years-to-realise-i-was-wasting-my-life/

‘It took me 30 years to realise I was wasting my life’

Two years ago,when his mother gave him Rs 3 to buy chapatis,he spent it on buying street snuff.

Two years ago,when his mother gave him Rs 3 to buy chapatis,he spent it on buying street snuff. That’s when she realised her 40-year-old son urgently needs rehabilitation. Since the age of ten,Mohammad Riyaz Shaikh,had been injecting himself with ampoules filled with brown sugar. After hitting a doctor with a stone in one of the centres,where he was being treated with Buprenorphine,Shaikh landed in KEM’s Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) programme in October 2012. Today he owns a small dhaba,a tiny mobile shop and sells clothes in Kurla. “It took me 30 years to realise where I was heading,wasting my life in drugs,” Shaikh admitted.”I started taking drugs at the age of ten with my friends. There was a time when I cared for nothing other than brown sugar. My mother used to hide her jewellery,money and even personal belongings because she feared I would sell all that for drugs,” Riyaz said.

Riyaz,a resident of Kurla,approached KEM in October but dropped out when he relapsed. “In December 2012,he started the treatment again,and now after six months he is a reformed man,” said Snnigdha Dittackavi,research assistant at KEM. Riyaz had abscesses on his legs and thighs due to constant injecting. To him,the scars are a constant reminder of his old habit.

“I have convinced some friends to try de-addiction programmes. However,there are still a few who inject themselves with brown sugar or consume Iodex when there is no money to buy drugs ,” he said.