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News (Media Awareness Project) - India: Addict-Felon Turns Role Model, Thanks To De-Addiction
Title:India: Addict-Felon Turns Role Model, Thanks To De-Addiction
Published On:2011-12-26
Source:Deccan Herald (India)
Fetched On:2011-12-28 06:00:34

Shaukat Symbolises Change That Many Like Him Have Undergone

Shaukat of Jahangirpuri started taking drugs at the age of 10 while in
Class 4. Due to addiction, he dropped out of school and took to
stealing. Now, he is a reformed man of 22 years, projected as a role
model at the city's first permanent drug de-addiction centre for
juvenile delinquents at Kingsway Camp.

Come New Year, he will begun work as a cook at the canteen of the
de-addiction centre where he was treated from May to October this year.

Shaukat started with a few drags of hash given by some school friends,
only to become an addict a few days later. He stole money from the
family-owned grocery shop to fulfil needs of his addiction,
subsequently dropping out of the school. Five years later, he started
consuming smack which would cost him him a few hundred rupees a day.
To meet the cost of his habit, he engaged in burglary, at times of
lakhs of rupees from bungalows.

"We used to go in groups for theft. In the biggest case of theft, my
share was Rs eight lakh," said Shaukat.

It was a matter of time when he became a known offender in police
books. Since the age of 14 he was being caught for theft in a number
of cases.

The de-addiction centre at the Juvenile Justice Board's Sewa Kutir
Complex was started in May 2011 after a High Court directive. Six
juveniles with criminal background, with Shaukat as the eldest, were
lodged there for medical and therapeutic help. Till now, nearly the
centre has treated 220 delinquents, with only few like Shaukat who had
crossed the age limit. Though addiction in some of them has relapsed,
most have shown signs of improvement.

"The story of Shaukat is the most common story here. It is not
criminals who become drug-addicts, but it is their addiction that
leads to stealing. At times, they engage in murder to hide their
theft," said Kripi Malviya, psychologist, Society for Promotion of
Youth and Masses (SPYM) which runs the centre for the government.

The treatment is divided into two phases -- three months of
de-addiction and next three months of rehabilitation.

"Rehabilitation involves non-formal education for children under 14
years of age while the ones from age 14 years to 18 years are given
vocational training in either laundry or at our food centre," said
Malviya. She added that the average age of delinquents is 15 years at
the centre.

She said that only a few of them are street children as most of them
have settled families in Delhi.

"We are promoting Shaukat as the role model for other children to give
them the confidence that they can also lead a life acceptable to the
society," said Malviya.

Shaukat is still dealing with his high levels of anger and

However, by his own admission, he has stopped blaming others for all
the problems in life, an attitude that is common among

Loopholes that need attention

* The courts depend on oral testimony to demarcate a drug-addict from
the others. No medical test is carried out to know the truth.

* All addicted delinquents are clubbed together at one place,
disregarding customised therapy needed for different kinds and levels
of addiction.

* Many rehabilitated children are inducted as volunteers without
monitoring. There is a possibility of a relapse in company of fresh
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