Wed 19 Feb 2014
Filed under: Drugs,Inside Burma,News
Busy parents and inadequate drug education in schools are contributing to amphetamine addiction among students, the head of a rehabilitation facility told Mizzima on February 18.
“Most amphetamine addicts are aged between 16 and 18,” said U Khin Tin, the manager of a rehabilitation camp at Mandalay run by the Social Welfare Department, under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
“They use amphetamine because the pills are easy to buy and easy to take without arousing the suspicion of their parents,” U Khin Tin said.
“Parents only know when it is too late and once someone has become addicted it is difficult to treat,” he said.
Most amphetamine addicts are students, U Khin Tin said, adding that one reason was a lack of education about the dangers of drugs.
“Schools are very weak in educating students about drugs,” he said.
Parents were also to blame, he said, because many were too busy to notice that their children were using drugs.
“They have no knowledge of drugs and when they find out [that their children are using drugs], it is too late,” he said.
U Khin Tin said 55 percent of children used drugs because of problems at home and the remaining 45 percent had come under the influence of friends.
Amphetamine-based stimulants were mainly used by children aged between 16 and 18; those aged 19 and above preferred to use heroin.
U Khin Tin urged parents and teachers who suspected children of using drugs to seek advice from the rehabilitation camps or skilled professionals.
He urged parents who suspected their children of being drug users to bring them to rehabilitation camps to be treated.
Despite the children not being at risk of arrest, few were taken to the camps by their parents, he said, adding that most admitted themselves.
U Khin Tin said there are 23 rehabilitation camps in upper Myanmar.
After leaving the camps, the children are monitored by a drug supervision group for a year.
U Khin Tin said most of the young people at the Mandalay camp are from Taunggyi, Pyin Oo Lwin, Lashio, Muse, Mogok and Tamu.
As well as treatment for their addiction, they also receive vocational training and are allowed to watch television and videos on Sundays.