Drug use by young people on the rise in Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township

June 22, 2017

HURFOM: Seventy per cent of young people in Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township, Karen State, have experienced using drugs, according to estimates by an official of the New Mon State Party’s (NMSP) anti-drug team.

[For villagers] between 14-years-old to 50-years-old, I’ve estimated that 70% of them have experienced using drugs. [The younger ones], they are out of control. We can’t stop them. Even their parents have given up on them and come to our office and request us to arrest them,” said Nai Raja, chief officer of the Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township NMSP anti-drug team.

In the past several weeks, the Kyar Inn Seik Kyi NMSP have already arrested 15 drugs users and dealers and sent them to the NMSP Mawlamyine District Court.

We didn’t arrest drug users before because we want to catch big dealers. But now, the number of small drugs users and dealers has been escalating. More young people are using drugs, so we have no choice but to arrest [both of] them,” said Nai Raja.

After the Burma Army took control of two NMSP checkpoints in February 2017, the NMSP withdrew from several checkpoints in Mudon and Kyar Inn Seik Kyi townships in order to decrease the escalating military tension. Since then, reports of the trade and use of illicit drugs in nearby villages in Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township have risen dramatically.

As Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township is under the control of both the NMSP and the Karen National Union (KNU), the administrative system is complicated and unlawful activities, including the use and trade of drugs, are more likely to occur.

Even though there has been advocacy and education related to drug eradication by the NMSP and the Myanmar Police Force in the Mon and Karen villages of Kyar Inn Seik Kyi area, the use and trade of drugs has not declined but risen,” said the NMSP official.

According to the official, the NMSP has decided to increase its momentum on drug eradication and elimination of all unlawful businesses in Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township. However, earlier this month, Col Win Naing Oo, Mon State’s security and border affairs minister, lamented the lack of funding by union and state governments to fight the drug problem in Mon areas.

According to HURFOM’s 2013 report on the drug trade in Mon State and Mon areas, the proportion of young people estimated to have experimented with drugs in Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township was approximately 40%. For more information, see “Bitter Pills: Breaking the silence surrounding drug problems in the Mon community.”



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