Gifu Darc has been open for just one month but it is already making a difference in the life of one recovering female addict. The center is hoping that the women in the Tokai region who are struggling with addiction will come to them to “regain their health and spirits”, according to Gifu Darc head Kaori Toyama.
Yoko Isamu, herself a former addict, is in charge of running the facility that right now has just one patient, Aya (not her real name). Isamu makes sure that their sole resident runs a regulated life, accompanying her whenever she goes out so she will not be tempted to use substances again. She also manages Aya’s welfare benefits, giving her $20 a day for living expenses. Isamu says managing one’s finances is a major step in the rehabilitation program. Aya says she doesn’t find her circumstances restricting because she wants to fully recover from her addiction, which started when she was 17 and continued even after she was released from prison for drug-related offences. She has been visiting Gifu Darc for a year now and has been off drugs since then. But it is still no guarantee that she will not regress to her old habits, so Imasu wants to make sure she’s by Aya’s side, just like what she experienced when she was overcoming her own addiction and she stayed in a dorm, much life Gifu Darc.
The Gifu Darc center has similar facilities all over the country, with Tokyo Darc being the first one established in 1985. They also have branches in Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Shizuoka and Nagano and Shiga prefectures. According to Dr. Koichi Amano, an expert on substance abuse at Kakamigahara Hospital in Gifu Prefecture, it is important for female recovering addicts to find a “place to belong to” after they get out of prison. It makes it easier for them not to relapse. According to data from the National Police Agency, 59% of those arrested in 2011 for stimulant control-related cases were repeat offenders.