ASIA/THAILAND - Treating drug addiction with compassion

Tuesday, 30 March 2021 society   drugs   criminality   human promotion   human dignity   human rights  

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - "It is impossible for Thailand to control, beyond its territorial borders, the origin of the narcotics and the trafficking cartels that do everything possible to smuggle drugs into the country. Village communities see the increase of drug use and trade among Thai youth who fall victim of the suffering of addiction.
These are various types of drugs: amphetamine, alcohol, heroin, inhalants, methamphetamine, opium, marijuana, cocaine and mixtures of different ingredients". Brother Anurak Nidhibhadrabhorn, of the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Gabriel, speaks to Agenzia Fides about a problem that affects many people across Southeast Asia and which in Thailand, as in other places, is a serious social issue, which the Church is also trying to remedy.
The Brothers of St. Gabriel Foundation and the Communal Life of Love and Unity of the Mountain People (CLUMP) have created the "House of Compassion", a private non-profit institution whose purpose is to rehabilitate men aged 14 to 55 in the Thai province of Chiang Mai through drug treatment.
The treatment modalities make use of therapeutic communities, holistic and humanized health care in a rehabilitation program that lasts from 4 to 18 months. After this period, after passing the evaluation on the effects of the program, the addicts enter a new follow-up period of one year through a therapeutic community procedure. The program touches the spheres of spirituality, psychology, and physical and social care through training practices aimed at social reintegration. In its latest report, the House of Compassion can boast an average recovery rate of over 85%, with a significant improvement in the last 4 years compared to the previous 5.
To the question about how the initiative came about and how the path of the House of Compassion was structured, Brother Anurak responds: "Despite daily efforts, people with addictions need additional services and care to find themselves as people. They need - says Brother Anurak - some kind of compassionate platform to relive their lives. At one point, my personal inspiration in drug rehab was providentially met by a team of caring professionals: they were so frustrated and fed up with the various vetoes of the bureaucracy at a government drug treatment center, that they contacted me in order to find an alternative way to take care of drug addicts. Consulting with Father John Murry, my spiritual father, the House of Compassion was born".
The religious Friar Anurak knows that the road is uphill: "Fully aware of our limitations, the assistants realized the difficulties involved in creating and managing a Center. But since then, the team has managed the operation professionally and I have also taken care of the administrative part. As most of our patients lack financial means and treatment cases become increasingly complex, we have shared a common position: do our best, seek donors, and leave the rest to the Lord. Now - concludes Anurak - we feel the need to extend our services to drug addicts whose demand for rehabilitation is increasing. We are now confident in our treatment modalities to begin, therefore, our second decade of activity with the House of Compassion II will be for female patients". (MG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 30/3/2021)