This is an interview with Mr. Badhuru on one of his many journeys. You could also find an account of one of his experiences on "Badhuruge Chronicles - Vol. 1" - An Untold Jail Story. This interview is on his journey through the DRC (Drug Rehabilitation Center) of Maldives.
Mr. Karma: I understand you were once asked in the DRC by some representatives from U.N how you got into drugs?
Mr. Badhuru: Yes. That was the first time I was there.
Mr. Karma: What did you answer?
Mr. Badhuru: I just told them it was the System.
Mr. Karma: When were you there for the treatment?
Mr. Badhuru: The first time was in the year 2000, I spent about 12 months there. Second I went back as a relapse case in 2001 and spent 7 months there.
Mr. Karma: How did you decide to go to the DRC?
Mr. Badhuru: Drugs of course, hehe. I volunteered my self unlike 90% of the addicts are forced by the courts to attend treatment to avoid their jail sentences. What made me go was external pressure from my family, I can't say I really wanted to go.
Mr. Karma: Did the treatment help you?
Mr. Badhuru: No.
Mr. Karma: Why?
Mr. Badhuru: The reasons are countless. They are related both to the DRC and my self.
Mr. Karma: Your experience in a nut shell?
Mr. Badhuru: Well, by the time I first went there, the treatment plan of the NCB was absolutely rubbish. We did what we wanted. The counselors were kids fresh out of school who were constantly been conned by the guys. We slept when we wanted, we played when we wanted, we went swimming when we wanted. The guards were there. But nobody cared then. The DRC was a place you graduated with more knowledge of how to get drugs, smuggle them and how to con people. It was like a workshop-carnival of junkies sharing their tricks of the trade.
Mr. Karma: It was that loose then?
Mr. Badhuru: Yeah. The only thing that mattered was going for prayers on time, otherwise you miss your weekly phone call and your monthly visit of 2 days to your family got delayed. But only a few even do the 'vulu' before the prayers, hehe. During the 'fathis' prayers you will find half of the guys suddenly have back problems, so they will be sitting at the back wall, sleeping.
Mr. Karma: To my earlier question, why did you think it did not work for you?
Mr. Badhuru: Its obvious man. I actually told you. It was external pressure that led me to go there. And recovery for drug addiction only starts within the person, you got to want to get clean, that's the first step. Since most people there were sent by the courts, they don't want to be there or get clean, they were there because they have to. So the most important ingredient was not even there within the clients of NCB for recovery.
Mr. Karma: Ok. I get the point. It must be interesting to hear your experiences at DRC, other recovering addicts can learn something from it. I heard its very different there now?
Mr. Badhuru: Yeah. They practice full TC there now. Or try to.
Mr. Karma: TC meaning Therapeutic Community?
Mr. Badhuru: Yes. I saw the system change. I was there when Mr. Ali Shareef took over from Mrs. Naaz when he got back from DayTop in the U.S. He tried to implement what he learned there, and I actually helped him a lot among other seniors at that time. He created the post of In-House Coordinator post, and I was given it first. I helped to build the hierarchy and structure of departments in the TC program. This was the infancy of introducing this treatment at DRC, I'm not sure even Mr. Ali Shareef actually knew what he was doing.
Mr. Karma: What do you think the main problem was?
Mr. Badhuru: The government was insincere about giving genuine treatment to the addicts. Secondly, it was tobacco.
Mr. Karma: Why do you say that?
Mr. Badhuru: The Italian government gave a huge sum of money to help develop the rehab. When the representatives came to observe, the DRC was all decorated, and they had music show and buffet dinner and the staff prohibited the addicts to speak to any representatives. Because they did not want them to know, they took all the money and just brought some old computers at NCB and called it a computer room. They never did anything else, and what happened to the money for the development of the DRC, your guess is as good as mine. Hehe
Secondly I say tobacco because that was the main concern of the addicts at DRC. I was there one year the first time, and tobacco was available through out my stay. Some guys had masterminded a plan to smuggle tobacco through the sea route, so they dumped huge amounts of tobacco on the sea where the DRC clients are allowed to swim then, they do this while on home leave and bring the tobacco in when they get back. All the fights or disagreements happened only due to tobacco. They distributed it packed as you would pack heroin in pieces of paper as they used to do then. They smoked it as local 'bidi's rolled with news paper so secretly it was the same way they used drugs. In a way tobacco became the substitution for heroin, it gave the thrill they could not have. So the habits we desperately needed to break, kept growing inside us, so how do expect any one to be clean more than 2 weeks out of the rehab?
They can't allow it because the law forbids smoking of tobacco in government buildings. Even the hard core TC rehab in Malaysia allows the addicts to smoke cigarettes in a controlled way, even DayTop allows I reckon. Many advisers from abroad came to study the treatment plan suggested this, but it was thrown out of the window I guess. If tobacco was allowed in the rehab to be smoked under supervision, 99% of the problems at the DRC would have been solved then.
Mr. Karma: It was interesting to talk to you Mr. Badhuru, it would be great if we could continue this another time as well. I got more questions to ask regarding your experiences.
Mr. Badhuru: Of course, any time.
Mr. Karma: Thank you for your time, will hopefully talk to you soon.
Mr. Badhuru: You're welcome man.
(Interview with Mr. Badhuru - to be continued....). If you got any questions for Mr. Badhuru please post them on the comments.