This week’s edition of The Economist documents the rapidly worsening problem of drugs in Myanmar (Burma) and Laos. Drug cultivation in the region has more than doubled since 2006, and together the two countries make up 18% of the world’s opium production. In Myanmar, ethnic minorities are among the most vulnerable as their regions have been destabilized by decades of conflict and dispute with the Burmese majority government.
Please take a look at the article, “Myanmar and drugs: Getting higher”, at the following link: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21600748-opium-growing-rise-again-drug-consumption-getting-higher.
This issue strikes a note very close to RIJ’s work. For the past eight years RIJ has funded a project by DARE on the Thai-Burma border called “Building the Future”, which is fighting to remove the scourge of drug addiction from among the refugee and host communities in the region. More than awareness training, the “Building the Future” project seeks to development local networks and resources to provide a culturally-attuned training program and to lift the whole community above the rising tide of drug addiction.
Results have been very positive over the course of the project, but the project leaders are careful to remain active and vigilant. The non-relapse rate of participants in the project is 63%, a higher rate of success than similar treatment programs in, for instance, North America. However, as the rate of drug cultivation in Myanmar and Laos rises, communities like those on the Thai-Burma border are affected much the same. This is a crucial moment for the region, and Myanmar in particular, which makes the work of groups like DARE all the more important.
Have a look at the RIJ website to read more about this project: http://refugeesinternationaljapan.org/dare_2013.
You can support projects like “Building the Future” by accessing the Donate page on our website under “What Can You Do”.