May 10, 2016
By Simon Chambers
The Drug Addiction Recovery and Education (DARE) Network is opening the first comprehensive non-medical addiction treatment centre in Burma, made possible by a ceasefire agreement signed in October 2015. “It is so exciting for us and for our staff,” said Pam Rogers of DARE. “There is a real need for our program here, where over 80% of the population are addicts in some places.”
For 16 years now, the DARE Network (a PWRDF partner) has worked in refugee camps and migrant villages on the Thai side of the Thai-Burma border to treat refugees, migrants and others who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.
DARE blends Western and traditional knowledge and treatments with their clients, and focus on helping them to stay free of drugs and alcohol after the program as well as detoxifying them while they are in the program. DARE has achieved a remarkable 61% success ratio, compared to 25-30% for most Western programs.
The Karen National Union donated two acres of land for DARE to build the centre, which will be located close to the 20 villages where their addiction prevention workers are already working.
Opening the centre is not without risk, as drug smugglers are using the Burmese side of the corridor to transport their product through the villages of the Karen state. The centre is close enough to the border that the workers can flee to the safety of Thailand if necessary.
The new centre is the first major achievement in the “Step back to Burma” plan that DARE is working with. Their goal is to be providing care in three districts in Karen state by 2018.
Today we celebrate with them the opening of their new centre, and hold them in our prayers for the continued success of their program, for the health and safety of their volunteers and clients, and for an end to violence and a safe return for all the Karen refugees.