Yaba Pills Credit: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
In the most recent camp management meeting, camp leadership stressed the growing problem of youth substance abuse. One of the most concerning issues is the use of “Yaba”, translating as “crazy medicine”, a methamphetamine pill packaged in candy like wrappers and sold openly and cheaply, especially in Karen State, attracting younger and younger children. Since the 2012 ceasefire it has been much easier to traffic drugs out of Burma and yaba has been flowing almost non-stop into Thailand villages, cities, and most worryingly for us, the refugee camps.
The pills are taken to increase energy to work and study or recreationally with friends to escape trauma, loss and boredom. Yaba is highly addictive and has severe psychological impacts, increasing with prolonged use. Addiction to methamphetamines leads to violence, stealing and destruction of families and communities.
Yaba, is relatively new in this area. Knowledge of its short term and long term effects, the addictive qualities and recognition of the pills is extremely low, accelerating the rates of uptake. Awareness education is needed across all 5 refugee camps and in the migrant community to instigate a reduction in uptake and stemming of use.
To tackle this DARE has begun, with the help of funding from Runwell and the Linda Quirk Foundation, to work on a new poster specifically aimed at youth yaba use. Two weeks ago we had a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for the design. Each of the staff took to big sheets of paper to draw what first came to mind when thinking about yaba.
There were central themes across all designs: loss, lack of control, sadness, death, help and hope. Our ideas will be translated into a professional design by a local artist and we hope to be printing in the early New Year.
This poster will go alongside a prevention education module as part our youth Frisbee Tournament.
Our Ultimate Frisbee competitions are effective way to target the hard to reach teen population. These specifically educated teens, through the Frisbee Tournament, will be able to support our broader outreach and poster campaign further within the camps and migrant community.
Stay tuned for the final version of our poster! At the moment at drawings are a little indecipherable!
Thanks to all those who have supported and continue to support our project.
We are involved in the End of Year Campaign through GlobalGiving on our other project; Step Back to Burma. The yaba poster and prevention education will be a big part of that. If you are looking for a holiday season gift idea, look no further than a donation gift on that page! Link below.
You will see the link to our Facebook page below, like to receive more update photos and information!
Many kind regards and happy holiday!
From the DARE team.
Yaba sold in shop in Karen State. Credit: KHRG
School right next to shop that sells yaba (KHRG)