Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education (DARE) Network

Described as a country with the world’s longest civil war, Myanmar has been suffering from ethnic conflict for many years, one of the main factors that contribute to its stunted economic growth. While tensions between the insurgent ethnic groups and the Myanmar army are ongoing, the spread of drug and alcohol problems in rural villages in Myanmar is also a concern. Alcohol and drug related problems, such as domestic violence and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases are breaking families apart, and children are the most affected. Denial and ignorance also exacerbate the matter.

Located in a remote village in Kayin State, the Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education (DARE) Network Centre renders free treatment services, including drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation, awareness training and preventive education. Aside from the rehabilitation centre, 20 village coordinators work in 20 remote villages to conduct community outreach, informing villagers of the negative health and social effects of alcohol and substance abuse.

Some patients at the DARE Centre started drinking, smoking and chewing betel nut at a very young age, mainly due to peer pressure. Some migrant workers came back from the neighbouring Thailand with drug problems. According to some of the patients, they were given amphetamines by their employers in order for them to stay alert and work longer hours; without an understanding of the effects, they trapped themselves in an addictive labyrinth.

DARE has been working in villages for many years, and with villagers becoming more aware of the negative effects of alcohol and substance abuse, the demand for alcohol and betel nut is notably decreasing. The selling of local whisky and betel nut is also slowly being phased out in some local stores, though major changes may take some time to achieve. Keeping villagers aware of the negative consequences of alcohol and drug abuse can ensure they are able to make wise decisions in the future.

More info at www.childsdream.org