By the numbers: Giving voice to vulnerable Lao youth

By the numbers: Giving voice to vulnerable Lao youth

It's a hot afternoon in Savannakhet, Laos. While summer is about to give way to the rainy season, it's doing its best to remind the residents of this small city that it won't go out gently. Outside the Savannakhet Primary Protection Centre, six young local researchers, all of whom are no older than 25, are joined by a few police officers as they sign out of the building. As they respectfully wai the officers, they all breathe a sigh of relief. It's been an intense week and a half, but they have accomplished a lot.

Over nine days, those six young researchers were able to interview 40 compatriots between the ages of 18 and 30 who are addicted to the mix of methamphetamines and caffeine known as ya ba. The purpose of the research was to determine the causes of the addicts' drug use, and to provide recommendations for how other youth could avoid drug abuse and addiction.

Through a combination of in-person interviews and questionnaires, the researchers uncovered a compelling list of evidence. Some 90% of the youth interviewed, for example, started using drugs during their teen years (most of them got their drugs from their friends and community). Over three-quarters of them (78%) started using drugs because they "just wanted to try them". An almost equal number (80%) have jobs, but often borrow money from family or engage in criminal activities such as theft and selling drugs because their addiction costs US$60 (1,940 baht) to $240 a month. Almost all of them believed awareness and education on the negative effects of drug use was inadequate and that parents, educators and the government needed to do a better job in this regard. This was just some of the information gathered by the young researchers.

Please log in here to fully view this exclusive content. If you aren't a member yet, simply sign up here. It's totally free & takes only a minute.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (1)

Prayut wants to remain as PM for 2 more years

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that he wanted to remain in his position for two more years after the next general election, and then find a suitable successor due to his tenure limitation.

14:37

Samsung, LG plan multi-billion-dollar additional investment in Vietnam

HANOI: South Korean electronics giants Samsung and LG plan to pour billions of United States dollars of additional investment into Vietnam, state media reports and the Vietnamese government said on Tuesday.

14:28

Carcass of rare dugong found floating in Sattahip bay

CHON BURI: The carcass of a dugong, a rare marine mammal known as payoon in Thai, was found floating in Sattahip bay in Sattahip district on Tuesday.

13:51