On track to help ex-drug addicts

Lyna Mohammad

Established on March 5, 1987, the National Anti-Drug Association (BASMIDA) is a member of the International Federation of the Non-Government Organisation for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (IFNGO), which carries out all national anti-drug activities based on the spirit of volunteerism.

President of BASMIDA Datin Hajah Masni binti Mohd Ali and Vice President of BASMIDA Hajah Linda Aini binti Abdullah, the two key people in the association, along with other members are dedicated towards keeping the association running and continuously helping former drug users to rebuild their life.

For the capacity-building of its committee members and the hosting or attending of events at national, ASEAN or international levels, the association requests financial assistance from government agencies, foundations and overseas state departments with the written permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).

The association also carries out Preventive Drug Education (PDE) using all possible approaches and the available media, as well as empowerment among youth, women and vulnerable groups.

As unemployment is a major factor contributing to social ills including drug abuse, BASMIDA has job placements for ex-drug addicts through means of networking.

Vice President of BASMIDA Hajah Linda Aini Abdullah at the 24th IFNGO ASEAN NGOs Workshop in a group photo with the participants of the event

The association, which does not support drug legislation, also views the welfare of schoolchildren as part of the country’s anti-drug efforts, including the issues of truancy and dropping out of school.

Over the years, BASMIDA has conducted community programmes such as promoting awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and its implications on the individual, the family unit and to the security of the community and nation. Youth participation as BASMIDA members and volunteers are also encouraged, as part of the learning process.

The association engages the joint responsibility of the corporate sector in providing jobs to former addicts, the involvement of schools with sports as part of a healthy lifestyle, ensuring the socio-economic progress of ex-drug addicts by highlighting their unemployment status, and the economic empowerment of former female users.

Although BASMIDA’s activities are carried out on the basis of volunteerism, they complement the Brunei Government’s anti-drug efforts and their engagement has given impact to the community.

BASMIDA also takes pride in having hosted the 23″ IFNGO World Conference in 2009 for the sharing of sustainable practices for PDE among members.

The conference saw the involvement of youth participants from ASEAN member countries. BASMIDA also hosted the 17th IFNGO ASEAN NGOs Workshop in September 2001, highlighting the issue of recidivism in treatment and rehabilitation centres.

During the 6th IFNGO ASEAN Workshop hosted by BASMIDA in 1995, they engaged in exploring the ways to inculcate drug abuse prevention. The association’s long list of activities conducted include outreach programmes, the publication of books, pamphlets, posters and banners, as well as talks and forums on Radio Television Brunei (RTB), news releases and the promotion of healthy lifestyle among youth and school children through sports.

Universal good values are showcased through the Anti-Drug Photography Competition in conjunction with the UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The national Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) and religious values among former addicts are further instilled through an Al-Quran Memorisation Competition for Rakan BASMIDA (friends of BASMIDA).

The association has assisted several Rakan BASMIDA in finding jobs in construction companies, printing, plumbing, hospitality and automotive industry, while other Rakan BASMIDA were encouraged and supported to pursue gainful self-employment such as tailoring, biscuit-making and setting up car wash businesses. The ASEAN Youth Extemporaneous Speaking Competition was also carried out by BASMIDA, with the co-operation of RTB in 2008.

BASMIDA pledged to continue helping the nation, particularly youth, from travelling on the wrong path of life by motivating its ‘friends’ to keep resisting the urge to relapse.