Drug treatment center providing medical care, psychotherapy, and vocational training set to open in Dawei District

January 25, 2019

HURFOM: A drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation center is set to open soon in Dawei District, near Wal Zin village, under the authority of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), and with the support of monks and locals hoping to stem the rising tide of substance abuse among the region’s youth.

The center will admit all who wish to seek support in their battle against substance abuse and addiction, irrespective of ethnicity. The three-part treatment plan the center hopes to provide to patients will consist of medical treatment, psychotherapy, and vocational training.

However, the NMSP Chairman for Dawei District, Nai Nyan Tun, has indicated that prospective patients exhibiting symptoms of methamphetamine-induced psychosis will not be admitted to the facility.

 “We will not accept patients if their condition is severe, and will recommend that they to go to the mental [health] hospital [Yangon Psychiatric (Mental) Health Hospital] to get treatment. For users not showing such extreme symptoms, they will remain in the center until they have recovered. Patients will be released depending on their progress,” said Nai Nyan Tun.

Returning to the treatment plan, Chairman Nai Nyan Tun added, “To provide patients with psychological treatment, we plan to invite a trainer from one of the refugee camps on the Mon State-Thai border. We also plan to identify [our patients’] skills, and provide some vocational training based on those skills, but we have not arranged a detailed plan yet. Once construction on the center is completed, we will continue to discuss our plan.”

 “Currently, we don’t have any donor support, and we’re relying on the funding we’ve received from the monks and locals…We have to find donors so the center may operate in the long-term,” said Nai Nyan Tun.

As stated by U Aung Naing Win, a local civil society activist in Ye Township, “We are happy, and welcome everyone working with the drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation center, but we hope the center will operate in accordance with the law, and that it will be sustainable. Until now, the NMSP in Dawei District has detained drug users at the request of parents, but these efforts have not succeeded due to financial constraints, and limited resources [to adequately address substance abuse]…Once the NMSP released them, many return to using drugs.

Parents seeking to have their children enter rehabilitation at the center must provide 30 kilograms of rice and 10,000 kyat (US $6.49) per month to cover food expenses. Currently, there are approximately 40 youth, ranging from 15 to 30 years of age, detained by the NMSP in Dawei District at the request of parents or guardians.

Similarly, youth struggling with drug addiction have been detained by NMSP authorities in Thaton District at the request of parents or guardians.

Before signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), the [NMSP] faced many difficulties when trying to work with other organizations, but now that they have signed the NCA, they can connect and work together with the government and civil society organizations [to support the treatment center],” remarked U Aung Naing Win.

Treatment center staff will closely monitor the progress of patients, and when patients are deemed to have entered recovery from their addiction, patients will be released back into custody of their parents or legal guardians.

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