(MENAFN - Jordan Times) "It is not easy to see my daughter growing up, seeing her father addicted to heroin," said Murad (not his real name).
For the past 22 years, "I was a slave to this habit, I destroyed my life and was only working to afford heroin," the 42-year-old said on Tuesday.
Murad, who is currently being treated at the National Centre for Addiction Rehabilitation (NCAR), regrets the way he has lived because he has missed out on "the joy of life".
"I was like a prisoner of this habit, which also turned me into a dealer, selling this drug to others without realising that I was destroying others' lives as I had destroyed mine."
His family tried several times to send him to rehabilitation centres, but to no avail.
"Once you start, you cannot stop," he said, adding that he did not pursue his university education because he was already an addict by the time he left high school, where his friends had tempted him to try it.
"They told me try this and you will be relaxed and forget about any problem you have. I tried it, loved it, and this was the beginning," Murad told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of a regional workshop on strategies to fight drug abuse.
Six years ago, Murad moved outside Jordan where he got married. "Now I have a baby girl who needs care, so I decided to do whatever is needed to put an end to this habit."
Five months ago, Murad returned to Jordan to seek treatment and reunite with his family.
"I am not sure about results of the rehabilitation because heroin addiction is the worst, but I am determined to try," he said.
Murad is one of hundreds of drug addicts and alcoholics who are admitted to the rehabilitation centre each year, according to NCAR Director Jamal Anani.
Of the 471 patients who were admitted in 2011, he said, 190 had problems with pills such as Captagon and benzodiazepines, 186 with alcohol, 74 with opium, 13 with inhalants and eight with hashish.
"Treatment was successful in 45 per cent of the cases," Anani noted, explaining that success depends on a patient's will to quit, family support and the environment the patient lives in after leaving the centre.
He also noted that the rate of addiction to pills is higher among women than among men but did not give precise figures.
Meanwhile, Bassam Hijjawi, director of the health ministry's primary healthcare directorate, noted that the ministry provides treatment to addicts free of charge.
"Four of the cases that were admitted to the NCAR for treatment were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS," Hijjawi said at the opening of the three-day workshop, organised by the Ministry of Health and the Beirut-based Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association.
In its 2010 report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that worldwide, between 155 and 250 million people (3.5 to 5.7 per cent of the population aged 15-64 used illicit substances at least once in 2008. Globally, cannabis users comprise the largest number of illicit drug users (129-190 million people), according to the same report.