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Reformed Bradford drug addict gives hope to others
9:00am Friday 31st August 2012 in News
A reformed addict is now inspiring others to get clean in one of the first projects of its kind at the major drug treatment hub in Bradford.
Onis Nazir, of Great Horton , has bravely agreed to be photographed and talk about his experiences of being addicted to heroin in a bid to give those caught in the spiral of addiction hope and inspiration.
Volunteer Mr Nazir, 39, sits in the waiting room at the Bridge charity’s hub in Salem Street and talks to those coming in about their experiences and how he battled his way through addiction. The charity hopes that Mr Nazir talking about his journey to become clean will help those in the Asian community who are shamed into silence.
From 1991 to 1999, Mr Nazir was addicted to heroin and turned to shoplifting to help fund his habit.
“I remember the exact moment it happened. I was in a car with my friends in Manchester to get cannabis and they pulled out foil and started. I remember thinking ‘if they offer me some, I am going to do it’ I had some and was hooked,” he said.
“I lost my confidence, I felt guilty and couldn’t stop myself and started robbing from town. I would make money and sit and smoke heroin.”
Things came to a head for Mr Nazir when he was jailed for 14 days and he made the decision to stop – unusually without any outside help.
“I got locked up a couple of times,” he said. “I had been feeling shame and guilt and the only way of getting rid of those feelings was to take more drugs.
“I got released on October 15, 1999, and did use on that day, but that was the last time and I never used again. But I wasn’t really aware of services. If I had been it would have helped me a lot.
“The danger is you have too much time on your hands and it is easy to relapse. I lost all my friends, but now sharing my experiences is a massive help.
“I thought the appeal for volunteers looked interesting. It was something I always wanted to do, but never had the motivation to do it. I speak to people still using and coming in to get their prescriptions and I tell them about services they may want to access..”
Jon Royle, chief executive of the Bridge, described Mr Nazir’s story as inspirational. “For those coming to us, meeting Onis is their first experience and meeting someone like him has turned their lives around,” he said. “A lot of people in recovery have never met someone who has got well. It gives them hope.
“I think particularly within the Asian community there is a lot of stigma in society around drug users and people feel afraid to admit they have a drug problem. Hundreds of people get well every year, and last year we got more than 300 people drug free.”