George started using drugs more than 10 years ago. At the time he lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, and worked as a driver for an international company. About one third of people who inject drugs globally live in the Asia and the Pacific region.

As George’s dependence on drugs became severe, he lost his job and could no longer provide for his wife and young children. “All I could think about was where I would get my next hit. I lied. I stole. I hated myself,” recalled George.

One day George heard about a novel programme based in a large house in Bogor, Indonesia. PEKA Halfway House is a community-based harm reduction programme that aims to empower people who use drugs to take back control of their lives.

Sam Nugraha is the Executive Director of PEKA Halfway House, which he founded in 2010. He said, “PEKA Halfway House is different from other treatment centres, because it is fully voluntary. Every client has made their own decision to participate.”

Most of the staff at PEKA Halfway House have experience with drug dependence. The facility provides a range of services, including group and individual counselling.

The organization works with public health facilities to help clients access key services. Deni Subhan, Programme Manager at PEKA, often accompanies clients to get their daily dose of methadone.

Siti Nurfaiza, Programme Manager at Gedung Badak Health Clinic, finds the collaboration with PEKA good. She said, “Methadone is very helpful for the heroin user, since it helps people with drug dependence to maintain their physical, psychological and social activities.”

Deni Subhan picks up a five-day supply of methadone for clients, who can then access their daily dose at PEKA, which has much more flexible hours than public health facilities.

George has gradually decreased his methadone dose. He now works for PEKA and is once again able to provide for his family.

George said, “All of us are entrusted to make our own decisions. If we wish to make a good decision, the community is here to help.”

Source: UNAIDS

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