Drug abuse in Mon State is uncontrollable

November 28, 2023

HURFOM: “I sent my son to the New Mon State Party Centre to receive addiction treatment. He’s cured and returned home but it didn’t last even for a month. He’s abusing drugs again. Now, I have to let him do what he wants,” said a disappointed mother from a village in Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State.

Another mother explained what was happening to her son at this time.

My son recently overcame his drug addiction. But his friends were still abusing drugs so he bought drugs from them and began to abuse again. Now, illicit drugs are easily available so we can do nothing,” said a mother from Thanbyuzayat Township.

Villagers throughout the state describe the current situation as being uncontrollable.

Ever since  the attempted coup in 2021, the rule of law in Mon State has failed. Educational opportunities are declining leaving many youth to become drug abuse victims. Now, about 40% of households in Mon State are dealing with drug related issues.

The military junta has not taken measures to constructively address the drug trade or its impact on communities. The national situation of low incomes, high commodity prices, few jobs, and constant warfare is causing many villagers to both abuse drugs and sell them.

When going to the plantation to do rubber tapping, villagers are hiding WY tablets in their tools and selling them at the plantation. It’s very easy. The tablets are being sold at a very cheap price,” said a villager.

Illicit drugs are abundantly available in Mon State and at cheap prices.  Usage is widespread, even amongst 13-year-old children. The age range of those taking drugs is 13-65 years of age.

The most popular type of drugs used in Mon State to be “drinking Kratom-leaf liquor” and WY tablets held second place. But the situation is changing.

Now, Kratom-leaf liquor isn’t popular that much. WY tablets are cheap. A tablet is priced at only 1,000 or 2,500 MMK. Now most villagers are abusing WY tablets,” said a local man.

According to historic data collected by HURFOM, there were 844 legal cases related to drug abuses and drug dealing in Mon State. It is now estimated the number of cases doubles every year. HURFOM has been unable to collect the exact number of legal cases related to drug abuses since the attempted coup.

Ward and village Administrators do not arrest or press charges against drug dealers as this action will threaten their lives.

Although the junta’s police forces and members of local militia groups arrest drug abusers and dealers, they are not punished, rather they are detained, extorted, and then released.

The police force had information about drug deals and they did a check. They caught both the carrier and dealer. But then they negotiated for money and ultimately released them,” said a resident who wants to remain anonymous.

Drugs have become so common now they are being incorporated into local events. “Kratom-leaf liquor” and WY tablets are being used as a treat for people attending weddings,  religious ceremonies and festive events.

The number of young drug abusers sent to the NMSP’s rehabilitation center has seen a steady increase. Most are sent by their parents and come from regions in both Mon and Dawei.

We’ve already had about 100 drug abusers. We don’t have enough accommodation so we’ve stopped receiving new intakes. Since the attempted coup, lots of drug abusers have been sent to us. We had to expand our buildings. When we have more space to accommodate, people will again begin to accept new intakes,” said an official from the  Dawei District NMSP’s rehabilitation center.


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