UNODC in Myanmar aims to prevent drug abuse, improve access to community-based drug treatment and reintegration services, especially among vulnerable populations.
“My son wanted to stop using drugs, but we didn’t know how to help him, but thanks to the advice he received at the Renaissance Rehabilitation Service Center, my son is now healthy and has a second chance to rebuild his life. life better and I am truly grateful for the drug treatment and rehabilitation services in the community,” said U Naw Tawng, a worried father from Myitkyina, Kachin State.
Stories like that of U Naw Tawng show the impact of illicit drug use on people, especially in vulnerable communities such as IDP camps and surrounding areas in Myitkyina, where UNODC continued to provide and support substance abuse prevention, treatment and community services for people with substance abuse problems. .
Illicit drug use has a significant impact on people’s health and well-being, and negatively affects the long-term prospects for the eventual return of increasing numbers of IDPs to their areas of origin. In an effort to minimize the adverse health and social consequences of drug abuse in IDP camps in Kachin State and surrounding areas, UNODC experts work directly with and mentor volunteers in the IDP camps to ensure that people who use drugs can access health services within their community.
Ze Hkawng, a former drug addict from Mawhpawng Lhaovo camp, overcame his drug addiction through a community-based drug treatment and services program. He was trained by UNODC and now actively volunteers for the program. When screening for drug-related risk behaviors, he said
“I was happy when I heard about the community addiction treatment and services started by UNODC because I didn’t know how to get help to stop using drugs. The program helped me to get rid of addiction and I am now healthy and happy.. I think a lot of young people like me need help, so I hope this program helps them just like it helped me.
Since October 2021, the program has supported the referral of 30 clients to government, INGO and NGO run service centers based on client needs, such as methadone maintenance therapy, HIV testing , hepatitis testing, counseling services, and community-based treatment and rehabilitation services. in coordination and cooperation with relevant partners. To reach more people, UNODC has started rolling out a hybrid online training of trainers for participants from local faith-based organizations, enabling them to impart their knowledge on a community-based approach to drug dependence treatment and services. to members of the community.
With their newfound knowledge, they will be able to conduct training sessions such as the one organized by UNODC field staff for volunteers (half of whom were women and half of whom were men) from the camps displaced people in Myitkyina with NGOs and faith-based organizations. working in the fields of drugs and health. The workshop improved the skills of IDP camp volunteers to screen and refer people who use drugs to community services, while facilitating improved networking and coordination between service providers and volunteers .
Ms. Hkawn Ra, camp leader of Du Kahtawng camp, said that attending the workshops provided them with information on the referral pathway for service delivery, not only in the camp but also in the surrounding areas. Mr. Joseph, a camp leader from Manhkring IDP camp, agreed with Ms. Khawn Ra and added that the training also provided urgent assistance to volunteers in their camps who will help with issues related to the drugs in the camp.
The trainings are part of UNODC’s collaboration with NGOs and faith-based organizations working on drug abuse prevention, treatment, harm reduction, drug rehabilitation and social reintegration services, aimed at building capacity to provide community services, particularly in IDP contexts. In Kachin, the program focuses on preventing drug use and addressing drug-related problems among people in IDP camps and surrounding communities in three selected areas of Kachin State: Myitkyina, Waimaw and Mogaung.
In line with international standards and a balanced approach to drug control, as reflected in an outcome document at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, UNODC in Myanmar aims to prevent drug abuse and improve access to community drug treatment. and reintegration services, particularly among vulnerable populations.