Peshawar     -   Elderly Gulab Khan used to live a peaceful life while working at a fish hut on a riverside until his fate was sealed. He got addicted to drugs that continued to ruin his life for 40 long years.

Initially, Gulab got addicted to charas at the age of 25 and later he also became an addict to heroin.

Gulab Khan, hailing from Gandhab area of Mohmand tribal district, said that he became a drug addict 40 years ago.

“I remember the days when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto died and Gen Ziaul Haq became the ruler of Pakistan; in those days, I got addicted and ever since, I have abused drugs for the last 40 years,” Gulab recalled while speaking to journalists.

Discussing his treatment at KP Social Welfare Department’s drug rehab centre in Peshawar, Gulab said that he was arrested by the authorities several times in the past due to drug abuse but that he was never treated for drugs in those days.

“This is the first time that I have been treated at the (rehab) centre here. I feel I have been given a new life. Now I will go to my village in Mohmand district where our family owns lands and a big house; I will work there in the fields and look after my youngsters; my elderly mother yearns to meet me and waits for me in the village house,” he added.

It may be mentioned here that 90 drug addicts, picked from the streets recently, completed a one-month treatment course at the rehabilitation centre of KP Social Welfare Department in Peshawar.

Speaking to The Nation, in-charge of the centre Jawad Hussain said that the campaign for the drug addicts was launched under the provincial government directives recently to turn addicts into useful citizens.

He said that 10 addicts were referred officially while 90 were picked directly from the streets. “Of the 90 addicts, seven were HIV positive who were referred to Nai Zindagi Trust in Islamabad for HIV treatment,” he added.

He said a drug addict causes damage to his entire family and home as all family members are disturbed by the attitude and negative consequences of drug abuse by even a single member of the family. “An addict’s rehabilitation means that all of the family has benefited from it,” he added.

While the rehabilitation of the drug addicts has given them a new lease of life, some public circles have called for government authorities to tighten the noose around drug peddlers and smugglers who have been ruining people’s lives with the menace.