Shan Orgs Meet to Seek Solutions to Drug Abuse in Community

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) organized a meeting this week with Shan civil society organizations (CSOs) based both within Burma and outside of the country to confront drug abuse in Shan State.

According to RCSS officials, they will present the results of the meeting as a social issue in the upcoming fourth session of the Union Peace Conference. The RCSS said that they hope the discussion leads to a new anti-drug policy.

Lt-Col Sai Harn, who is in charge of the RCSS’s anti-drug department, said that the drug problem in Shan State is growing, and that this was the catalyst for the workshop with civil society members, held from January 13-15.

“This problem is a big issue in families, wards and villages. The number of drug addicts has increased. Many people use drugs. Drugs are spread widely throughout the community,” he told media outlets.

In the meeting, participants discussed both the establishment of an anti-drug policy, and how to resolve challenges facing opium farmers, as well as those addicted to drugs.

Capt Sai Pee, who works on the anti-drug campaign in RCSS’s territory in Mongnai, Maukmai, Mongkurng, Mongpan, Laikha, Panglong and Namhsan townships, said that the main three drugs that people are using are methamphetamines, opium, and heroin.

Lt-Col Sai Harn said that it will be necessary for all stakeholders—ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), local administration, CSOs to cooperate in order to solve the drug problem in Shan State.

“I think this problem will be effectively solved if all stakeholders such as EAOs, government, CBOs/CSOs and local people cooperate and work together for it,” he said.

The RCSS signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burma Army at the end of 2011. After this, the RCSS kicked off its anti-drug campaign in its control area in Shan State, which included drug awareness and drug prevention campaigns. RCSS officials said that they, along with the government and representatives from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 to jointly implement an anti-drug campaign together.

The RCSS is one of the 10 EAOs signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military.