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.
Jun 17, 2013

What Other People Say

A Happy Grin
A Happy Grin

Dear Friends,

Your on-going support means alot to our program and allows us to generate further support.  There is great interest in the Burmese Refugees and the root causes of their plight.  We often have visitors to our programs including researchers and donors.

We want to share with you some of the outside reaction we get from people who visit DARE Network in the refugee camps.

Refugees Seek Freedom From Addiction on the Thai-Burma Border

Posted: 24/05/2013 13:23

2013-05-24-burma1.jpg

*Lucinda Lai [2012] is a Gates Cambridge Scholar doing an MPhil in Sociology. For more information about her work, click here. Picture caption: As part of a camp-based mental health workshop, a student's sketch of the drug and alcohol problems that she observes in her community of refugees at the Thai-Burma border.

Refugee camps are supposed to provide shelter from conflict and persecution, but, for Burmese refugees in Thailand, life in camp introduces a whole new set of dangers. These refugee camps have become a fertile breeding ground for drug and alcohol addiction.

I visited the Thai-Burma border camps last year as part of my work with a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to building up mental health services for refugees. I found that individuals turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope, however dysfunctionally, with the stress of protracted confinement in a place completely lacking in the opportunities for productive or meaningful living.

Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the camps. It is cheap and readily available in the form of homebrewed distilled rice liquor. These home brews can be fairly toxic with things like pesticides, fertilisers and rubber thrown in to make the concoction more potent or ferment more quickly. Research has shown that alcohol is used not only for recreation, but also as self-medication for pain and to cope with the boredom of life in camp, the depression and anxiety associated with the loss of traditional social structures and the stress of adapting to unfamiliar and austere living conditions.

In interviews with residents of the largest of the Thai camps, Mae La, some men revealed that they resort to substance abuse because they feel deprived of their typical means of livelihood. "We have only alcohol," one man said, "It's like being in a farm [...] surrounded by a fence." Many of these disenfranchised young men felt that they had no other avenues to express their frustration. "There is only alcohol to get release," said one.

Male respondents lamented the loss of their normal roles as providers for the household. Female respondents described the effects of alcohol abuse as adding stress and pressure on their families. Gender-based violence, crime, the serious neglect of children and the costs of alcohol and substance use on the family's finances all pose significant challenges to mental health. One camp resident put it this way: "The majority of addicts are men. Because of this, women are mentally ill."

On the other hand, camp-based drug and alcohol recovery programmes gather hope from their work, seeing it as an expression of non-violent resistance against the former military dictatorship. Indeed, Burma (also known as Myanmar) stands out as a major source of methamphetamine pills and opiates in Southeast Asia today, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Burma is the second largest opium grower in the world after Afghanistan.

Conflicts

Almost all of the opium Burma produces is grown in the eastern part of the country, in the states of the Shan and Kachin ethnic minorities. This area is also the site of long-standing conflicts between the minority groups' armies and the central government's military. The instability caused by these conflicts fuels the growth of opium and heroin production and is suggestive of a link between the highly profitable drug trade and the current plight of Burmese refugees.

One community-based recovery programme, DARE Network, has had remarkable success in the treatment of addicts in camp. They are a local organisation that developed in response to the urgent need to bring an end to the drug problems. DARE Network makes use of Burmese herbal medicines, acupuncture, herbal saunas, traditional massage and culturally appropriate therapies in their detoxification and rehabilitation programmes. They are guided by the belief that "recovery is a powerful weapon against those who benefit from the drug trade". Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction returns people to their communities, and healthy communities are more resilient to manage whatever political and economic transformations are yet to come.

At the individual level, addiction is directly related to feelings of powerlessness. But, there is also the growing realisation that addiction plays a role in the bigger story of Burmese refugees: persecution, armed conflict, instability, a profitable drug trade and undemocratic rule. It is only by supporting those who are trying to break free from the cycles of addiction that full and inclusive participation in the creation of a free Burma for all will be possible.

We feel this will give you some more insight into the DARE Network programs and we hope you will continue to support our work.

From all of us at DARE. 

Links:

Jun 10, 2013

Amazing People Thank You. We did it Together.

World Anti-Drug Day in Camp
World Anti-Drug Day in Camp

Hello Everyone,

This will be our final report on our project Rebuild Flooded Burma Refugee Camp Recovery Centre.  All of you have contributed to our goal and although we may not have met the financial goal, we certainly were able to rebuild our DARE Centres, thanks to your generosity.

The refugee staff of DARE supported by the local camp management and of course our intrepid Core Staff bringing in supplies and encouragement did the labour, along with former clients from our Addiction programs. Now all is safe and secure.  Hopefully there will be no more storms, floods, fires.  People have enough suffering already.

The situation in Burma remains unstable.  It may be a few years yet before the Burmese refugee can return safely home.  DARE will continue to offer our Addiction prevention education and treatment programs, in an environment of extreme insecurity.

If you want to continue to support our work please see our project Burmese Refugee Youth Prevent Addiction and Violence, here on GlobalGiving.   We would appreciate anyone who is giving a recurring donation to transfer their gifts to this project.

Thank you once again from all of us at DARE Network on the Thailand/Burma Border

Links:

Mar 18, 2013

Burmese Migrant Kids Have Fun Preventing Addiction

Listening and Learning
Listening and Learning

First of all.  A great big huge wonderful thank you to everyone who participated in the Recurring Donation campaign in December.  It was a big success and we managed to be in the top 5 projects.  As a result, we received additional bonus and matching fund from GlobalGiving, thanks to all of you.

Our work with the Teenagers and Children in the refugee camps continues.  The Teens Teams coordinate with their teachers, leaders and other teenagers to provide monthly Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Education in the schools.

As well, they continue to use Ultimate Frisbee as a means to play with children and other youth who may not be in school to share their knowledge and create a space for kids to talk about the challenges of living in a refugee camp. Many of these young people's parents abuse alcohol to cope with their losses.  Many youth feel hopeless looking out of the camp as their future passes them by.  They too are at risk for addiction.

Last month we had an amazing time with the Burmese Migrant children.  Our wonderful volunteers from the Bangkok Soi Dawgz Ultimate Frisbee club, came up to the border to introduce the Migrant Kids to the game of Ultimate while our dedicated staff shared their addiction knowledge with the children.  Please see the attached photos.

We also did some advanced training with our DARE Teenager Teams in Mae Ra Moo and Mae La Oon Refugee camps.

You may have heard that many changes have come to Burma.  While it is true, that Aung San Suu Kyi is released and the government is loosening up, there are still attacks against ethnic groups.  Ceasefires are tenuous until the Burmese Government really works toward peace through a political process.  It still is not safe for people to return to their homeland from the refugee camps.  The place is littered with landmines and the Burmese Army, rather than standing down, is building up their forces in the ethnic areas. Rations have decreased in the camps and people are become more impoverished.  Drugs are coming into the camps in larger quantities and our challenges are increasing.

In 2012:

298 Dare Teens for Kids Program youth provided addiction knowledge to 16,000 other youth and children

5 DARE Teams and 298 Teens provided Addiction Prevention and Education to 25,846 children and youth and teachers in their schools

DARE Network Teams in 5 camps provided addiction treatment to 124 addicted teens.  DARE has a 61% success rate of non-relapse across all the camps and all clients. (300 in 2012).

Our DARE Network Teens are making a big difference in their communities. You have helped make all this possible in 2012, 2013 and some of you recurring beyond.  The DARE Teens have asked us for some new Tshirts.  To this end we have posted a Microproject on GlobalGiving to raise money for these shirts.  You can find it at  link below.

Thanks from all us here on the Thai/Burma Border to you our partners around the world.

 

 

 


Volunteer Jiew explaining the game
Volunteer Jiew explaining the game
Ready for the drills
Ready for the drills
Playing the Game
Playing the Game
Who will win the Addiction quiz?
Who will win the Addiction quiz?
The Happy, Hot and Tired Volunteers
The Happy, Hot and Tired Volunteers

Links:

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