The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

China

Ex-addict helps other young men recover

Updated: November 09, 2009 10:28 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Share this article :
One young man whose life was transformed by a Church-run drug rehabilitation center is now working with the organization to help others in the same predicament.
HK798_3.jpg 

Residents of the rehabilitation center undergoing group therapy

"I took heroin and amphetamines," said Teeradech, 37, a helper at the Rebirth Therapeutic Community Center (Soon Kert Mai) for Men run by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. The center is in Chombung, Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok. Teeradech´s story is all too typical of drug addiction. He not only took drugs, he also stole money to buy them as well as engaged in trafficking for a year. His brother brought him to the center about 10 years ago when he was given bail after being arrested on drug offenses. It changed his life. He now lectures at Thailand´s Narcotics Control Board and is in charge of the detoxification program at Soon Kert Mai. "Now I am using the lessons I learned in life to help others," he said. Father Sathit Sriwanchai, the center´s director, says rehabilitation involves two stages. "The first stage is a detoxification period of 10 days." After that, the men receive psychological and spiritual support through group therapy and lessons, as well as undergo a physical exercise program for about 18 months. The entire program is designed to help the men develop a positive attitude to life, healthy relationships, sound values and mature judgment, Father Sathit says. "Most drug addicts start to walk on the wrong path when young. We try to help them rediscover their own way of life free from drugs," he added. Sister Sumalee Arunyakanont, 68, an assistant to Father Sathit, said the young drug addicts at the center mostly come from rich or middle class families who, despite their wealth, "live lives that are empty and very lonely." The center was founded in 1979 and has more than 250 male residents aged 13-26. Most are Buddhist but there are six Catholics and three Muslims. In the early 1990s the congregation opened a similar center for women in Bangkla, Chachoengsao province, eastern Thailand. It has more than 50 residents. Drug addiction is a growing problem in the country. According to Thailand´s Narcotics Control Board, the number of drug users rose from 460,000 in 2003 to 605,000 people in 2008. The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity was founded in 1958 by Father James Flanagan in the United States. It has missions in 16 countries, including China and the Philippines.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution