Friday, August 1, 2008

Crying for the Junkies

Well this is an interesting experience. Somehow I thought I should have opted for some human psychology when I was in my tertiary education. I would have enjoyed having some structured lesson on psychology than just applying some trial and error method.
You see, as a Magistrate, we have to conduct an enquiry for “penagih” or narcotic addict (or in a very harsh term, a drug junky). For more read on the nature of this enquiry, see SATHIYAMURTHI v PENGUASA/KOMANDAN PUSAT PEMULIHAN KARANGAN, KEDAH [2006]4CLJ 862.

The power to do so is derived from section 6 of the Drug Dependants (Treatment And Rehabilitation) Act 1983. In other words, it is commonly referred to as “Section 6” here. The process is simple, the Agensi Anti Dadah Kebangsaan (AADK or National Anti Drugs Agency) will bring the narcotic addicts into court for the Magistrate to order whether they be sent under police supervision or to rehabilitation (pusat serenti). We normally follow the advice of the AADK when making such order. (click here for more information about AADK).

I have developed my own style for this enquiry since I never had the opportunity to see any of my colleagues in action before. I would give the addicts a small lecture if I want to grant him police supervision or I wouldn’t say much if the order is for him to be sent for rehab.

Today was interesting. Many of the addict’s family members were present in court. I took this situation to my advantage. The moment I see that the AADK proposes for 2 years police supervision, and after filling up the necessary details in the form and ask them for their appeal, I’d ask if their family members were present. You can now see mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, cousins of the addicts standing up. This is what happened to one of the addicts whose sister, some other relative and his 3 children were also present:

Me: Can you (the drug addict) please turn and look at your family members?

Drug Addict: (turns his body slowly) by this time, the family members started crying…

Me: Now tell me their feelings…

Drug Addict: They are crying and they are sad…

Me: Why are they crying? Why are they sad?

Drug Addict: Because I took drugs.. (he had tears in his eyes as well)

His youngest son, I think about 14 years old was really crying and hugging his older brother and they both turned away from the father. All of his family members were also crying.

Me: Is that your youngest son?

Drug Addict: Yes…

Me: Is he disappointed that you took drugs?

Drug Addict: Yes.

Me: Do you want him to take drugs as well??

Drug Addict: NO!

Me: Look at your children, call their names and promise them you will NEVER EVER take drugs again!!!

Drug Addict: A, B and C… I promise I will never take drugs again!!!

The youngest kid was crying the loudest by now. Even though he was seated at the end of the court room, I could still hear him loud and clear.

Me: I suggest you should take this opportunity to stop being dependant to drugs and stop disappointing your family members especially your children. 2 years Police Supervision!

I also had one Indian addict whose mom was crying so badly when I asked him to look into his mother’s eyes and promise her that he won’t do drugs ever again. He promised and also asked his mother to stop crying… she wailed much louder. The chap was devastated. He couldn’t go and hug his mom as he was being cuffed to other addicts. (They need to be cuffed as there were too many of them and if they are not cuffed, they would definitely attempt to run away). While I was dealing with another addict, I saw the Indian chap’s mother fainted for a while beside another Indian man. She got up shortly after that. Thank God she didn’t get a heart attack!!!

Phew!!! The dramas in my Court today!!! I felt good after the Section 6 session. Apparently, not many Magistrates bother to take time and lecture the addicts released on Police Supervision. I feel that by sitting up there, my scolding (or lecture) carries much weight to these people. I consider that I have done a good job if they feel a slight remorse in what they do. Who knows they’d actually stop doing what they do just because a Magistrate showed that he cared about their disease and manage to make them understand what their relatives (especially parents or children) feel about their addiction.

Oh well, May The Big One Up There grant them strength to leave such despicable addiction. I know it’s gonna be tough. I was badly affected when I decided to stop smoking cigarettes. And cigarettes are nothing compared to drugs…

Blog adjourned!

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