Ex-addict tells kids how drugs made him a ‘walking animal’
A recovered heroin addict told hundreds of British and Emirati schoolchildren yesterday how he ruined his life through drugs, urging them not to follow a similar path.
The 27-year-old Emirati recounted his horrific experience at an awareness day organised by the British Embassy and Dubai Police. Speaking through a police interpreter, the former addict said he became a “walking animal” as his drug habit spiralled out of control. He explained that he was just 16 years old when he was first given heroin by his cousin, who was at school with him.
Now reformed, married with children and holding down a full-time job, the man, who has been off drugs for seven years, said he is catching up on his education and wants to speak fluent English. He told the teenagers: “I started taking drugs at 16. I am now 27. I stopped taking drugs seven years ago.
“The first drugs I took were given to me by people in my school. I wish I could go back to that time and change things. I was getting dropped off at school by my father at the front gate and walking out the back gate to drink and take drugs.
“I would go home and tell my family everything was fine at school.” The man was the youngest in his
drug-taking group and was forced to sell narcotics to feed his habit. He said: “I was selling drugs because I wanted them to give me drugs.
“All my brothers were in the police and they were suspicious. But I wasn’t afraid of the police, wasn’t afraid of being caught, just afraid the others wouldn’t give me heroin.
“Even when I was caught and was in jail, I didn’t think about being in jail, I was thinking about getting out and getting heroin. In 2001 I got out of jail and I was on my way home. But the people I was selling drugs for stopped me and I took heroin even before I got to my house.
“My cousin was one of my best friends, he was the one who gave me drugs. He died in front of me. At that time I didn’t care. I was only thinking about selling drugs. I think about him more now.”
He added: “All of the people who took drugs with me died in different ways. They took overdoses and some hanged themselves. In the end they all died. I only got off drugs because I realised there were only two ways: stop or die.
“You all have to know that people who are taking drugs don’t care about others. If one dies they just carry on thinking about themselves. I was on the dark side and now I’m in the light.”
The youngsters, from several schools across Dubai, also heard from the British Embassy, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and Dubai Police drugs squad during the five-hour seminar. Dubai Police, who brought seized drugs for the pupils to see, also paraded one of their drug sniffer dogs and even re-enacted a dramatic drugs bust - holding the culprits
at gunpoint before leading them off.
The youngsters also took part in a quiz about drugs and alcohol.
British vice consul Mandy Smith told the youngsters that the messages about alcohol and drugs were getting through. She said: “When I arrived here three years ago there were 365 cases involving British citizens. Now there are 210. I’d like to think that is because the message is getting across.”
‘DON’T MAKE A HASH OF IT’: First Corporal Mousa Guled, of Dubai drugs squad, showed the youngsters a collection of narcotics seized in Dubai. During an awareness talk he also warned that passive smoking of hashish could land people in jail.He said: “If there are five people in a room and two of them are smoking marijuana, then all five will be detained for tests.
“And all five will test positive even if two of them weren’t smoking it.”He also warned parents to always be aware of where their kids go and who they are with.
>> Cops said if a drug addict goes to Dubai Police and asks for help they will not be criminalised and will be given confidential rehabilitation.
>> Dubai Police has a drugs hotline (800 400 400), where the public can report any drug-related suspicions.
>> Officers will be spreading the drugs awareness message during the run-up to International Anti-drugs Day. They will be in Al Mamzar Park from June 23-25.
Anti-drugs Day is on June 26.
COPS DEMONSTRATE BUST: The teenagers at the first British Embassy and Dubai Police drugs awareness day were left under no illusions about what happens to users. Officers re-enacted a drugs bust (pictured) which ended with three men being held at gunpoint then led away. In another demonstration by the drugs squad, a trained cocker spaniel sniffed out real drugs planted on a policeman in a line-up that the schoolchildren were invited to join.