Narconon Rehab Doctor Fights Back Against Drug Pushers

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A Hyderabad, Pakistan drug rehabilitation doctor is trying to free his poor neighborhood from a damaging, addictive local drug, which he helped get declared illegal. Local drug manufacturers and pushers are threatening the doctor if he doesn't stop this work.

Pakistan is fighting wars on many fronts, and the last thing they can tolerate is rampant drug addiction. Dr. Sharif could help and train other professionals in Pakistan who expressed a wish to open Narconon programs. We hope that the Hyderabad civic community will stand up for the good Dr. Sharif and against the thugs trying to shut down his life-saving work.

Dr. Muhammad Sharif won't quit. He won't run away. As director of a Narconon drug rehabilitation program operating in a small hospital in the city of Hyderabad, Pakistan, helping the poor and destitute, he expected total public support. And was getting it. But this did not take into account the local drug pushers, whose income his saving of lives from addiction was cutting across. He's been repeatedly and personally threatened recently and is afraid he may have to close his clinic. But that is the last thing he wants to do.

International reports indicate there may be 6 million drug addicts in Pakistan. Being the immediate neighbor of Afghanistan, leading producer of the world's opium, it is no wonder that 50% of Pakistan's drug abusers are addicted to heroin. But this story is not about heroin. The other 50% of illicit drug takers compulsively use cannabis and a regional drug, popular in Pakistan and India, called "main puri." A combination of tobacco mixed with other drugs, main puri is chewed. It is known to cause mouth and throat cancer, oral cavities, and other effects such as a rigidity of the jaw.

Apparently, a manufacturer of main puri works the streets around Dr. Sharif's Narconon program. Until Sharif, the pushers had an open field because main puri, although recognized as addictive and dangerous, had not been officially declared illegal. But Sharif, who has had to deal with its damaging effects, began aggressively giving interviews to the media and issuing press releases. "I strongly protested to the Hyderabad Chief of Police and other community officials," Sharif says. "Partly as a result of this, I am proud to say that 'main puri' has now been banned." Sharif continues. "The main puri manufacturer is threatening me even worse, but I will not surrender in front of them."

Dr. Sharif is an MD, but also recently spent a year studying for his Masters in Public Health degree in Malmo in southern Sweden. The reason he went to study in Malmo was that it was in Sweden that Sharif had earlier completed Narconon drug rehabilitation professional training and internships. While studying for his MPH, he supported himself by working at the Narconon Eslov center near Malmo.

So Sharif knows addicts, in withdrawal, in recovery, and also out on the street. He has been using the Narconon "First Step" program to help street addicts and others come off drugs using vitamins and minerals and hands-on pain relief techniques. The Narconon drug-free, nutrition-assisted approach to drug rehabilitation is based on the research of humanitarian and author L. Ron Hubbard. The Narconon network now comprises over 145 rehabilitation and prevention centers in 45 countries.

It was because of Narconon First Step work that Sharif was invited to bring these methods into a Hyderabad hospital. "We are justly proud of the pioneering work Dr. Sharif has done in Pakistan," says Clark Carr, President Narconon International, who himself has done two lecture tours through the country. "Pakistan is fighting wars on many fronts, and the last thing they can tolerate is rampant drug addiction. Dr. Sharif could help and train other professionals in Pakistan who expressed a wish to open Narconon programs. We hope that the Hyderabad civic community will stand up for the good Dr. Sharif and against the thugs trying to shut down his life-saving work."

Sharif has for some years also been a leading force in Hyderabad for community drug prevention and education. He has lead parades through his and other cities promoting drug prevention and has personally delivered drug education talks to thousands of youth.

He deserves all the support he can get.

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MARCIA POWELL
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