Ten years have passed since Ramli Omar, a peer mentor for the National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) and co-founder of drug rehabilitation centre Rumah Sinar Kasih, broke away from his “love affair” with heroin.
Upon his release from prison, the 62-year-old former teacher was determined to quit drugs after being caught in its grip for 37 years.
In an interview with Malaysiakini at Rumah Sinar Kasih recently, he spoke of his journey from being a “zombie” on the streets because of drugs to helping rehabilitate others in the same situation.
Ramli, who is affectionately known as Pak Long, first took the illegal substance at the tender age of 15, when he was a Form Three student in a religious secondary school in Terengganu.
While noting that many drug addicts fall from grace for various reasons, Pak Long admitted that he only has himself to blame for getting into the vice in 1974.
“Some become addicted to drugs due to family problems, divorced parents. It is not due to one single reason but many. It could also be the influence of friends. But for me, it was actually my own doing.
“When you are too active in school, always the ‘top student’, you start wanting to explore your horizons and try new things. I was so excited about moving ahead…