By Devina SamarooThat started out as nothing but a little high school fun gradually evolved into a major catastrophe that changed his life forever. Mark never thought his life would spiral out of control like it did, he always thought he had self-control and that he could stop whenever he wanted.Meet Mark, 47, a recovering drug addict who lost his job and family because of his gripping addiction to a range of drugs including marijuana, crack cocaine andMarkalcohol.As a teenager, Mark experimented with marijuana because all the “cool kids” were doing it and because it was “all a part of the fun.”“I used to use marijuana to get down with the cool people. I have what we call an addictive personality. For some people, they can use and stop but I wasn’t one of those people. I got hooked. I progressed to crack cocaine for a while. There were periods where I would stop on my own but I couldn’t stay stopped,” Mark began to tell his story.He was sitting in a little office at the Drug Rehab Centre of the Salvation Army in Kingston, Georgetown. This is his second time being enrolled in the drug rehabilitation programme. He completed the programme in 2014 but was overconfident in his recovery process. He wanted his life back right away but when that did not materialise, he relapsed to drugs for comfort.“I didn’t apply what I was taught. I was looking for too much too fast. After coming from a high level and when I came out clean I wanted to start back there, not realising I had to start from the bottom,” he explained with hand gestures.Mark lived in the United States, had a wife and two sons but his illicit lifestyle gotUlrick Thibaudhim deported to Guyana in 2006.In Guyana, Mark decided it was the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf but his plans did not auger well with him.“I went to a Reggae Concert and it just didn’t feel normal so I decided to burn a joint and within a year, I was back to crack cocaine. It just developed and my life became totally unmanageable,” he explained.His hunger for the drugs caused him to irrationally sell everything he owned just to finance the lifestyle he craved.RehabMark realised he needed help and so he got enrolled into the Drug Rehab Programme in 2014.The Drug Rehab Centre in Guyana has been transforming lives since its establishment in 1996.For 2016 alone, nearly 100 addicts were enrolled in the programme.Administrator of the Salvation Army Guyana, Ulrick Thibaud told Guyana Times that the success rate of the rehabilitation programme is about 50 per cent.Thibaud said children from as young as 13 years are enrolled in the programme, in some cases students come from prominent high schools.According to the Administrator, addicts in the younger age range are hooked on marijuana whereas the older ones are into cocaine and alcohol.The programme is very simple: patients participate in counselling, educational forums, spiritual activities and sometimes anger management, with classes hosted by the Men’s Affairs Bureau. It usually lasts for six months but patients are encouraged to stay at the halfway house upon completion of the programme for monitoring purposes but in Mark’s case, he did not.Thibaud explained that the halfway house is a critical peripheral aspect of the programme as it helps officers to intervene if they notice risk factors or if patients exhibit a tendency to revert to drugs.ResistanceFor the most part, patients demonstrate a willingness to get clean and they have the support of family. But there are a number of cases where resistance is high and some patients are neglected by relatives.The Administrator pointed out that resistance is high in the younger age group, where teenagers believe that nothing is odd about their indulgence in drugs.Thibaud highlighted that the media plays an integral role in perpetuating the ideology that drug usage is not harmful and many persons therefore reject the help offered on this basis.