Home News Drug Stigma: Club 14 begins anonymous rehabilitation in Abuja

Drug Stigma: Club 14 begins anonymous rehabilitation in Abuja

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By Ndidi Chukwu

To help countless people suffering from drug addiction, those who have recovered and those suffering from stigmatization, a support group has officially began its activities in Abuja to cater for these people.

Instead of being called Narcotics Anonymous, The Reconnect Club 14, chose a name after year 2014 of its formation due to stigma associated with drugs, to be able to reach its target.  For its acceptance in the FCT, the club scored more than 20 members at its first meeting.

Initial members include patients who have undergone drug rehabilitation at Synapse Services, but its membership is open to anyone in need of support to beat drug addiction, said Raphael Aguanunu, lead clinical psychologist at Synapse Services.

“People come for rehabilitation, go out there and there’s no one—a recovering addict—to interact with, to get that support,” said Aguanunu.

“It is not a position where physicians will come and start controlling them; they are in charge of the group, and there’s no financial commitment. It is all about support.”

Club 14, a programme of Reconnect Health Development Initiative (RHDI), allows former and recovering addicts who “may have one problem or the other to try and look for people they can share those experiences with, someone who can advise them,” said Aguanunu.

Founding members meet as frequently as once weekly to avoid losing touch. “Once you have taken that first step to fight it, it starts from there,” said Jean Igwegbe, programme lead for RHDI. “It is not compulsory but we encourage all addicts to join the support network.”

“There is a difference in talking to someone who actually understands what you are going through. I’m not a recovering addict, and there is only a limit to what I can actually tell a recovering addict, but then if you are in a group where there are people who have actually gone through it, they understand the language you are speaking. It is actually a platform to get recovering addicts to support one another.”

Club 14 hopes to expand across the country, once its structures are set, to enable individual’s access to meetings in their neighborhoods. It also plans to “push About People Like You” an education and awareness programme targeting young people in schools with a message that “drug is not cool” to help them keep off drugs, said Igwegbe.

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