DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Network)

DARE (Drug & Alcohol Recovery & Education) Network is a grassroots national NGO. DARE Network provides culturally appropriate non-medical treatment & prevention education to reduce substance abuse & associated social issues within the communities of displaced ethnic people from Burma, along the Thai/Burma border. DARE Network envisions the strength of ethnic people from Burma to use the power of recovery from addiction as a non-violent means to resist oppression. A Free Mind Cannot Be Destroyed.
Sep 17, 2014

Cross Cultural Impact of Drug Addiction

From: The Lancet
From: The Lancet

We all know that drugs and alcohol are harmful to people and families. Most people have probably experienced or seen first-hand the damage and destruction drugs and alcohol can do for the person involved and the community around them. However, what we may not know is the exact impact of each drug on a range of different internal and external factors. Today, I’ll go through some research from Professor David Nutt on the impact of drugs and alcohol in the UK. Professor Nutt has previously worked with the UK government and founded the independent drugs research charity Drugs Science. His worked has informed much public policy in the UK and globally.

Even though this study looks at UK data, the data is similar to what we find with the substance we face on the border. It highlights the universality of the problem, even in highly contextualized situations.  

Alcohol, despite being legal almost everywhere, is overall the most harmful drug to society. Abuse of alcohol is especially harmful on factors outside of the user; injury to others, family adversity and economic cost. Alcohol is more harmful by nearly 20 points (on a ranking scale out of 100) than the second and third most harmful drugs; heroin and crack cocaine. This is something that we clearly see on the border, alcohol is a strong contributor to domestic violence and family dissatisfaction.

The three most common substances abused in the camps and villages we work with are all in the top 4 most harmful overall drugs: alcohol, opium/heroin and metamphetamine or yaba (Yaba means “crazy medicine” and is a methamphetamine) (in order of harm).

While alcohol has a larger negative impact on the people around the user, heroin and methamphetamines severely damage the user. Herorin has the largest user mortality (directly or indirectly) of any drug. Methamphetamines cause significant loss of relationships, impaired mental functioning and dependence. The use of yaba in the camps has grown significantly in recent years and the high level of dependence is especially concerning for young people.

Substance addiction has mental, physical and spiritual components. You can look at these shocking figures and think how much harm is being caused by one person’s addiction.  But that outlook doesn’t address the root cause of addiction or assist that person in recovery. At DARE we focus on the drivers of addiction rather than the substance or behaviors, although those are critically important as well. The people in our camps have experienced trauma and violence at the hands of their own government. They have in many case been forced or led to drugs and alcohol directly by perpetrators of this violence, or turned to substances to ease an untold suffering.

To help, is to understand this and to free that person from the clutches of their trauma, releasing them from the hold of addiction through that process.  

Substances abuse can exaggerate the negative impact of the trauma suffered for the user and for the community around them. Helping that user move from addiction to freedom assists not only themselves, but many around them. Positive outcomes for a whole family for the price of one!

In the border area, a recent survey completed in one of the camps that DARE does not operate in, showed that drug and alcohol abuse is the top concern for camp residents. Our work is critical for the physical and mental health of the refugee and migrants on the border.

When you support addiction treatment and prevention education, such as DARE’s program you are not just helping those addicted. You are supporting whole communities to become stronger and safer and for those in the communities to prosper to their full potential.

Thank you as always for your continued support.

Check out as well photos from one of our recent Ultimate Frisbee matches on a hot and threatening rainy season day. 

Ultimate Frisbee Competition
Ultimate Frisbee Competition

Links:

Jul 22, 2014

Under the Thumb

Born in a Refugee Camp
Born in a Refugee Camp

A huge thanks to everyone who continues to support DARE Network's projects.  This project "The Amazing Project-Stepping Back to Burma, might be also called Hurry Up and Slow Down.  As many of you know the Road to Return is littered with Landmines, uncontrolled Burmese soldiers who still rape and murder with impunity and no clear peace plan between the Burmese Military Government and the Ethnic Groups.

DARE Network must tread carefully and surely.  But tread we must. Drug addiction inside Burma is proliferating due to lawlessness and the opportunities of the Ceasefire.

Currently we are in the process of training new workers to begin our assessment in Karen State.  These are brave people indeed as they must negotiate their way through all the players to try to learn what the local people want.  What do they think of the drug situation in their villages?  How will they be able to support prevention and recovery work in their own areas?  How can DARE help them?  Meanwhile, all must stay safe from the Drug Lords who control so much of the area we are about to enter.

DARE is partnering with a local Community Based Education organization and the Karen Womens' Organization to travel safely together.  As well, we are sharing research with the award-winning Karen Human Right's Organization, to monitor drug abuse inside our target areas in Karen State.

Meanwhile on the border in Thailand, the Military Coup Makers of Thailand, the Thai Army have started to talk about pushing the refugees back.  Rumours have been flying and fear returning without safety has the refugees in a high state of anxiety.  We continue our work with them in the 5 refugee camps we work in, as we strive to move our work forward to be ready for any sudden forced return.

We have received a grant from Refugees International Japan to print our new Training Manual.  This is great news as it will most certainly be a great tool with which to Step Back to Burma.  We hope you will continue to step with us.  We need your support more than ever at this precarious time.

from all of us at DARE Network

Links:

Jun 17, 2014

Goals, Goals Goals. Soccer, Frisbee and Funding!

Teens for Kids Prevention Training
Teens for Kids Prevention Training

Despite a military coup and martial law being imposed in a spate of political upheavals here in Thailand, life in the camps progresses as usual. In coincidental timing with the beginning of the Soccer World Cup, the rest of Thailand’s curfew is dropped and World Refugee Day opens this Friday with a huge camp vs. camp staff soccer match. Ultimate Frisbee is a very popular game with the youth, but soccer is equally as popular. The World Refugee Day match is one of the biggest camp soccer matches of the year and will showcase some top quality sportsmanship and skill.

At the same time as DARE staff are practicing their kicks and dribbles, they are also preparing for World Anti-Drug Day next week, one of the biggest days of the DARE calendar. It is important that the whole community is involved in drug and substance abuse prevention education, and as such we arrange a variety of activities to suit everyone’s taste. There will be Ultimate Frisbee competitions, music competitions and art competition as well as public awareness campaigns and a gathering of the community in the central community hall. Often, a past client and currently recovering addict will speak to the group. This is especially powerful for the teens and young people there. Hearing the story of someone in their community, who they can relate to, is a much more convincing argument than statistics and warnings.

We will update you on World Anti-Drug Day and World Refugee Day with photos at the next report!

Kids in the camps have been enjoying school holidays for the past couple of weeks. As the schools settle back in, the Teens for Kids group is refreshed and the teams are reformed. Training will be re-invigorated just in time for the World Anti-Drug Day.

The Teens for Kids volunteers are special people who we are very lucky to have as part of the program. Prevention education for young people is of the utmost importance if we are to help kids get through the tough years of teenage hood. Peer pressure, uncertainty about yourself, and a growing self-awareness all contribute to a trying time for teenagers. On top of that these kids have gone through serious trauma in their home states and face an unknown future while waiting in the camps. The Teens for Kids Program provides mutual benefit for the teens involved and the kids they teach, it gives them something to look forward, a purpose and meaning and something to put their efforts and energy towards.

So thank you all for making it a possibility. We have nearly reached the $25,000 goal!

The Teens for Kids Program is a fundamental part of our DARE Network activities and we thank all of our supporters and donors as well as our volunteers for helping to make it such a success. We hope to continue being able to do so, so if you have a spare second to donate some extra dollars, we can guarantee we will put it to inspiring use in the camps for the benefit of the children and teens and their futures.

If you ever have any questions about the programs we run please get in touch at drugfree@darenetwork.com.

All the best until next time,

The DARE Network Team 

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