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Drug Rehab Centre Raya Open House

MALACCA: For a 15-year-old inmate of the drug rehabilitation centre Puspen (Pusat Pemulihan Narkotik) at Tiang Dua here, nothing is more saddening than spending Hari Raya without his family. The boy, who wented to be known as Shah Batu, from Kuching, Sarawak, said he was filled with sadness as he watched other inmates spend time with their family during the centre's Hari Raya open house recently. 
"This is the first time I am spending Hari Raya away from my family. They are not here today as it is far for them to come. "I regret taking drugs. If not for that stupid act, I would be at home now, with my family and preparing for my PMR examination," he said.
Shah said he was detained by the police after his urine sample tested positive for methampethamine last July. He was sent away for a one-year rehabilitation programme at the centre.
"I was introduced to the drug called 'ice' when I started working at a burger stall early this year. The stall owner gave me a tube of ice after we closed for business every night. "He gave me the drug and some pocket money every day as my wages," said the 11th of 12 siblings.
Another inmate, known as Azli, 20, from Taiping, Perak, said he would further his studies when he is released from the centre. "I have changed now. Before, my life was all about drugs. I thought of nothing else.
"But here, I was taught to be a good person and I attended classes on electrical wiring. After my release, I will enrol in a course in electrical wiring to further my studies, and find a decent job," Azli said.
He was detained for taking heroin last January, and was touched that his family had come to visit him during the open house. Azli's father, who declined to be identified, said it was his son's last day in the centre.
"When he goes home, I will let him help his mother operate her restaurant in Taiping. But if he wants to further his studies, I will be overjoyed. 
"Our family learnt about his drug habit abuse activity about six months before he was detained, but he would not listen to our advice.  "When he comes home , I will keep him away from friends who had introduced him to heroin," he said.
For another inmate who calls himself Meen, this will be his second Hari Raya at the centre.  A polytechnic student before he was detained last year, Meen, 20, said he was happier this time as more family members had come to visit him.
"I tried heroin two years ago out of curiosity after seeing my friends taking it. Then I got addicted. Within a year, my life was all about drugs. I could not work as I was high all the time. "Last Raya, only my mother came to visit, but today almost all of my siblings are visiting, too," he said. Meen said he hoped to get an early release for good behaviour.