AN association consisting of former drug addicts who have an aim of establishing a psychiatric centre, was formed in the Western Highlands Province.
The certified group, which consists of 52 members from Gumanch in the Dei District, on Thursday in a sermon led by Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Solomon Kewa, vowed in front of members of the Rolgoka and surrounding tribes that marijuana would never be touched again in their community. The group said their aim was to focus on micro-economic activities as well as trying to gain the support to establish a rehabilitation facility for those affected by marijuana in the Highlands region.
Local marijuana grower Moses Timbi, who supplied the young men with the drug, uprooted over 20 adult plants and promised during the event that whatever remained in his gardens and the surrounding areas would be uprooted by the members of the association within the week.
The initial idea of the project came from Rolgoka tribesman and chairman of the Task Force Sweep team Sam Koim and the late Jackson Ka, who died in Port Moresby in December trying to gain support for the group.
With all members of the group being villagers, the encouragement by Mr Koim and late Ka kept their vision alive till they all joined different church groups and promised to eradicate marijuana whilst venturing into small rural economic activities.
Teacher Samuel Rombil, who supported the group, said the aim was far reaching than for the good of the members and communities alone.
"Their plan for a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts indicates the seriousness in eradicating cannabis and wanting to see drug addicts return to the communities and live normal lives like everyone else," Mr Rombil said.
He said the absence of police or politicians during the event was a major achievement rather than a setback because the whole occasion was meant for the well-being of the rural communities in the area.
Mr Rombil said: "After so many years, these young men have come to realise that they wasted all their lives on marijuana. They are at the prime of their lives and have made a crucial decision at a right moment in their lives."
The group called for support on good Samaritan anywhere around the country who wished to help them with their micro economic activities as well as the Highland Marijuana Victims Rehabilitation Centre.