Fellow Since 1996
Children and Youth for Development Project
This profile was prepared when Suthasinee Noi-in was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Suthasinee Klui-Ngern has established a center where young Thais with drug addiction problems can live during the time of their treatment and return for support as they need it. In several ways her approach differs from government and Buddhist treatment centers, which are the two dominant drug-treatment models in Thailand: Her system uses no medication of any sort to treat addictions, it does not remove patients from the realities of their lives in order to affect treatment, and it takes specific aim at recidivism. Treatment is individually tailored to each person, with the aim being to discover the real roots of the drug use, such as low self-esteem or family problems, in order to treat the causes, and not just the symptoms of the addiction. Her goal is to arrive at a truly permanent cure. The center is characterized by a family-like atmosphere where peer counseling plays a key part in treatment. Patients become comfortable enough to explore why they have become addicted: Moreover, Suthasinee's policy that they can return whenever they need to even after the formal treatment period is over assures them that the most important goal is not to fall into their old patterns after they leave. Her center provides the context, and allows the time, for patients to modify their behavior and learn how to choose drug-free lives. For many of her clients, whose ages range from 9 to 27 years, resuming their education is a major issue; and Suthasinee has created a process to assist them to receive vocational education or to participate in one of Thailand's two open universities (courses by correspondence).