Drug addiction is on the rise in many parts of the world. Drugs continue to put the lives of many people in danger. Just like in Myanmar, in Kachin State drug addiction is a major problem that they’ve got no choice but to face and hopefully, put an end to it.
The clanking sound of leg irons shackled around the ankles of the unwilling patients signals the arrival of a small group of heroin addicts at the mess hall located inside a fortified Pat Ja San compound near Laiza in Myanmar’s Kachin state, located in the country’s north along the border with China. The compound is one of 28 run in Kachin and neighboring Shan state by Pat Ja San, a Christian anti-drug vigilante group.
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International observers say treatments at the rehabilitation centers are rudimentary and brutal compared to modern Western methods. The detoxification program often includes locking patients in barred rooms and confining their legs to wooden stocks to prevent escape during the initial treatment when addicts experience the painful effects of withdrawal.
Methadone is sometimes available, but medical training for the workers and access to modern drugs are limited, especially in the rural areas where military battles persist.