Drug Treatement Camps

Cambodia, 2009
“I sold my brother’s moto, stole all my mom’s money to buy heroin. My mom sent me here. When I am cured, I will return home work to get the money, and pay back. ”

Sisophon, West Northern Cambodia. According to the general Aw Boren, drug usage is in decline in the region. In 2002, wife of the prime minister Boon Ranny Hon launched this rehab center, possibly the largest in Cambodia. Over a thousand addicts were treated here since.

The treatment? Bootcamp. Exercise and psychology, peer pressure and military discipline, all under blazing sun.

Relapse rate is reported at 30% only., which would be very low, given that upon treatment termination, kids are sent right back to their families and are under extreme pressure to pay back money.
NGOs are reporting a 90% relapse rate.

Military style training, lots of food, and psychology sessions with the army staff.
Medical testing before and after assesses success by blood drug rate. All efforts here are to ‘clean the blood’, ‘clean the head’, ‘kill the ego’.
But is it efficient? Or is it dangerous? No escapes were ever reported, although kids are not allowed outside the facility.

And no matter how many abbs or pulls or monkey bars this adolescent will do, does he stand a chance to break out of addiction in the long run?
Root causes are still there: poverty, abuse, easy access to escapes, family and peer pressure.
Similar bootcamps exist in Vietnam, Thailand and other neighbor countries. It is believed that isolation, excruciating exercise, overfeeding solves the individual’s addition.

Very few places to get treatment, and virtually no medical support. Bootcamps seem to be the only option, and if there were not any, kids would continue their life in the streets…