ATHENS – Holding onto big leads in polls, major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose party was criticized by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for backing the rich, met former drug addicts on Christmas night.
Mitsotakis and people who finished a drug rehabilitation program met at a cafe in Vathis Square, notorious for being a hangout for drug dealers and users who operate openly around the Capital with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA criticized for condoning it.
The former addicts, whose counselors pay has been cut, talked to him about they got hooked, their experiences as addicts as well as the rehab sessions and problems with the program, the state-run Athens News Agency ANA-MPA reported.
They also talked about trying to find a job and get back into society while facing the stigma of being a former addict. “If you are over 45, it is very difficult to find a job in any case, never mind saying that you are a former drug user,” said a 58-year-old man who is about to complete a rehabilitation program and who started using at 23.
Mitsotakis said authorities should be more active in supporting people who have successfully shaken off their addiction. “We will back up such efforts any way we can,” he said.
Mitsotakis also joined the mobile unit of Praksis, an NGO that daily visits the Athens center, helping drug users and others, such as homeless people and prostitutes, including victims of international trafficking, the report said.