Society should not be judgmental but rather provide moral support to former drug addicts as their recovery is a lifelong process, National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) director-general Sutekno Ahmad Belon said.

He said as the stigma on people with drug addiction only worsened the situation, it was important for the group to have a strong support system from family and community members for them to get on with their lives.

"Free your mind and change the way you think of them (former addicts). Assist them through the road to recovery, change your negative perceptions of them.

"I am confident with this kind of support, several AADK clients will be able to lead a prosperous and happy life with their families," he said in his speech at the AADK National Month and Fly the Jalur Gemilang celebration at a rehabilitation centre here today.

Also present were AADK deputy director-general (Management), Chan Hong Jin and Negeri Sembilan Information Department director, Sabarudin Yeop Hamza.

He said discrimination and negative attitude towards former addicts have been the main triggers of relapse.

“Although former addicts have gone through treatment and rehabilitation programmes, some still find it difficult to be accepted by the community or their family,” he added.

Sutekno said some AADK clients went back to their old habits because they were cast aside, treated as unworthy and hit with harsh words.

He said 14,008 out of 44,754 AADK clients reached recovery level as assessed through the Cure and Care Recovery Index (CCRI) set last year.

"AADK is targeting 75 per cent of clients remaining in recovery this year, and as of today, over 6,000 clients are undergoing the institutional treatment and rehabilitation programme at 30 centres nationwide," he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency