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Former cop opens salon for female drug addicts
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-21 08:40

A former police officer has set up a drug salon for female addicts in Zhabei District to help them kick their habits.

Ge Ziming, 56, left the police force to become a social worker in 2003, and set up the salon in early 2004.

Ge said he ran into many difficulties when he started his new job in Zhabei's Pengpu township.

There were more than 80 registered drug addicts in the town, but only one social worker.

"It occurred to me that gathering the addicts together may save my energy as well as help more addicts. The number of female addicts in my district is about three to four times more than average, so I decided to build up a female anti-drug salon," Ge said.

Women gather in the office of the local neighborhood committee on a regular basis, to discuss their problems and support each other in the battle against addiction.

"Anti-drug salons are rarely used in helping drug addicts, as regular meetings may cause them to be attracted to shoot up again. So I started with only 5 addicts who had got well. The effect was unexpectedly good. Women are all born to love beauty, even drug addicts," Ge said.

Ge and the neighborhood committee have organized several outings for the women over the past two years, including trips to museums, memorials and exhibitions.

"I hope taking part in more social activities can help them recover their normal social lives and abandon feelings of inferiority," Ge said.

The salon's group leader, Li Xia, was a beautiful, promising model at the age of 16. She lost control of her life, however, when her boyfriend introduced her to heroin. Li says she couldn't kick her habit even after three failed suicide attempts.

She said she finally stop using after joining the salon. Now she has set up her own company, and spends a lot of time warning others about the evils of drugs. The salon has also helped several former addicts to get career training and find new jobs.

"Now my wish is to enlarge my salon and help more drug addicts, but it must be a long-term process as we first have to identify potential members," Ge said.

Despite his success, Ge says he still worries about his salon's future.

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