Reducing Substance Abuse and Associated Violence (2011)

$25,000 of $25,000 raised

2011-04-01 ~ 2012-03-30
Agency: DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education)

This project targets 5 Burmese refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border, with a focus on addressing the prevalence of substance abuse by males in refugee camps. 50 trained DARE workers will visit 450 families per month to provide support and counseling to family members affected by substance abuse and violence. 

The men’s mentoring program will also be strengthened under this project and men from the refugee camps will have the opportunity to share their experiences of substance abuse and violence and discuss ways to better manage their lives in refugee camps. Male community workers will be educated about substance addiction in order to provide support to other men in the community and act as positive role models. 1 cycle of treatment for substance addiction will be provided in each refugee camp, and a total of 90 persons will be treated. In order for communities to take ownership of their roles in reducing substance abuse, each camp will hold a workshop where community members and policy makers can discuss strategies to reduce substance addiction and associated violence.

REI has been worked in partnership with DARE for many years to reduce substance abuse and associated violence within communities and refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border by providing culturally appropriate treatment and prevention education. Previous projects have been successful in reducing substance abuse, improving the treatment of women and youth, and increasing involvement by communities in the development of strategies to reduce substance abuse and associated violence.


Burmese people have for decades been victims of murder, rape, ethnic cleansing, torture and a host of other human rights abuses. Consequently, tens of thousands of Burmese people have fled to the Thai border where they are housed in refugee camps with no access to employment and minimal education opportunities. These refugees are entirely dependent on external resources to meet their most basic needs. This creates a sense of hopelessness and frustration, which fuels a culture of substance abuse and violence within these refugee camps. In order to improve the situation for the Burmese people residing in refugee camps along the Thai border, it is important to address these underlying causes of substance abuse and provide refugees with alternative ways of coping with trauma and oppression.


By putting emphasis on counseling DAREare has been able to share addiction information directly to the community. This has resulted in more clients voluntarily visiting the treatment centers. This has also kept addicts feeling safe by allowing private consultations.

DAREare was able to reach out to 4,777 homes during the course of this project. From these households a total of 20,113 people were given counseling and education on drugs. Half of those people participating were women.

DARE’s mentoring program, Men Working with Men for Happy Families, is having a profound impact in the community. These male mentors are often role models to youths and other men. They set examples for those struggling with drug addiction by sharing their experiences with drugs and helping those in refugee camps manage their lives. Men Working with Men for Happy Families continues to be the only program in Burmese refugee Camps working on the problems of addition and violence.

Case Study

At Nohpo Camp, a young man voluntarily went to the DARE treatment center. After staying and going through withdrawal, he now feels both fresh and healthy.

At Mae Ra Ma Luang camp, another young man who has had trouble with drugs has been able to suppress his addiction with the help of the DARE treatment center in three months. After his treatment he now advocates the clinic to his friends in the hope that they too will stop.