International Day against Drug Abuse: How this Pune cafe helps drug addicts recover

Pranav Jalan
Friday, 26 June 2020

People who manage to quit drugs are not given proper respect in our society. 'My little cafe' in the premises of Chaitanya Institute of Mental Health, provides them with an opportunity to work and get them ready for the outside world. 

International Day Against Drug Abuse is observed every year on June 26. This day aims to make this world a drug-free place. Drug dependence causes chronic brain diseases. Drugs are one of our society's greatest problems. It affects not only the individual but our society as well. This leads to a lack of reasonable decision-making abilities. 

Even people who manage to quit drugs are not given proper respect in our society. 'My little cafe' in the premises of Chaitanya Institute of Mental Health, provides them with an opportunity to work and get them ready for the outside world. 

Shannon (name changed) is 27, he loves cooking and is an accountant at 'South East Cafe'. He is also a rescued substance addiction patient, who has recovered three times. "I came to the Chaitanya Institute of Mental Health on my own because I wanted to control the cravings. I previously worked in the hospital cafe and am now an accountant here in South East cafe," he says.

"My addiction started because of my friends, and later on, I was admitted to the hospital in 2017. I came here for a consultation, and my dad started as a complaint box, and that made me piss off. When I went back home, I again started taking drugs. Later I realised what I am doing, whatever I am doing is wrong," he added.

Shannon diverted his interest from the consumption of drugs to making delicious food items. The founder of Chaitanya Insititute, Roney George, helped him cover his journey. Roney also owns three cafes that are solely operated by patients who were once drug addicts. 

"We established this centre called Chaitanya Institute of Mental Health for the treatment and care for persons with various issues like Pshycactric problem, drug addiction, etc. I believe addiction or any other things can just not be treated, but you know you need to give them the opportunity, you need to build trust for them, and you need to help them. So, we started this as a support to them. We started with a small restaurant facility in our hospital initially. Thereafter, we came with a cafe in Koregaon Park and now in Deccan," says Roney.

He added, "People say they are gone cases, but family, surroundings, his friend circle and the place where he is going to stay plays a major role. Because whenever he recovers, he goes back to the same environment which has not changed. He will not be able to survive for a long time. Without family support, nothing can be achieved."

"My objective is to give them a supportive and understanding work environment in which they can recover from their addiction and manage stress. When they come to learn how much tension is there in doing a job, they will adapt to live in the outside world slowly and steadily. This will reduce the risk of their relapse."

Drug addictions pose different risks to health. Given the financial crisis, you do not avoid substance abuse, even though if your friendship with loved ones gets ruined. It has an impact on your brain, which makes you feel good by repeating the same experience. It is the feeling that motivates you to do so regularly.

On this Day of Anti-Drug Addiction, let's commit to raise awareness and say 'No' to substance use now and forever.

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