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Church-run drug rehab center honored in Bangladesh

Started in 1988, it has cured more than 5,000 people and sheltered 1,500 street children
Holy Cross Brother Nirmal Francis Gomes, director of Bangladesh Rehabilitation and Assistance Center for Addicts, receives a crest of honor from Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in Dhaka on June 26

Holy Cross Brother Nirmal Francis Gomes, director of Bangladesh Rehabilitation and Assistance Center for Addicts, receives a crest of honor from Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in Dhaka on June 26. (Photo supplied)

Published: June 29, 2022 09:42 AM GMT
Updated: June 29, 2022 10:08 AM GMT

A Catholic-run de-addiction center in Bangladesh has been honored for its contribution to the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan presented a crest of honor to the Bangladesh Rehabilitation and Assistance Center for Addicts (BARACA) and two other organizations at a program in capital Dhaka on June 26.

“We are very happy and proud because the government has recognized our work,” said Holy Cross Brother Nirmal Francis Gomes, director of BARACA. “This honor will inspire our staff and motivate us to do more quality work.”

BARACA was initiated by Holy Cross Brother Ronald Drahozal in 1988 and is the first drug treatment and rehabilitation center in the country. Now, it is a central project for Caritas Bangladesh.

The center provides services for treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent persons, spreads awareness on drugs, harm and risk reduction, voluntary counseling and testing, running daycare and night shelters for street-based children at risk.

BARACA has over the years cured more than 5,000 people and sheltered more than 1,500 street children at its four centers.

“BARACA changed my life. It is a center of love. I could quit my addiction to liquor and cannabis because of the love of the elder brothers here. They helped me understand the bad effect of drugs"

Milon Mahmud, a 32-year-old Muslim working in the marketing department of a private company in Dhaka, was successfully treated five years ago.

“BARACA changed my life. It is a center of love. I could quit my addiction to liquor and cannabis because of the love of the elder brothers here. They helped me understand the bad effect of drugs,” he told UCA News.

Minister Khan said there are 7.5 to 8 million drug addicts in Bangladesh, with 48 percent of them educated. Most of the people in jail are drug traffickers or drug dealers. Eighty percent of drug addicts are young while 57 percent are sex offenders.

“Although Bangladesh is not a drug-producing country, it is being used as a route for drug smuggling,” the minister said.

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