How would you paint your life, particularly your most difficult experiences? What colors and themes would you choose and why? During a recent art session at Metta Development Foundation’s drop-in center in Kachin State, we asked participants to share their stories with us. We hope you will listen to their stories, too.
We human beings are curious and want to try new things. This is our instinct. So we try drugs and become dependent. But should we only blame people who are using drugs? Is it only their fault? Are not those who produce and spread drugs also responsible? That’s how I feel right now. If there were no drugs, there would be no drug users. Drugs are widespread, distributed and produced.
Poppy fields don't run away. I don't know why they aren't destroyed yet. When it becomes heroin, it is easy to pass on and hide. We drug users are not criminals who need to be punished. We have not committed a crime. We are just damaged by heroin for someone else’s advantage.
I used yellow, blue and white. White is for the graveyard. Yellow means gold and natural resources. Blue expresses mountains and hills. If you try to look farther, you will see more. If you are fixated on one thing, you will only see that thing. What I’m trying to see lies farther ahead in the future. I painted a group of drug users and a group of Metta staff.
Others drug users might feel intimidated and reluctant to speak up because the community ostracizes them. People around them say things like, “He’s useless. Being dead might be better for him.” I am not useless. I was used.
This interview has been translated and edited. The views and opinions expressed within this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PEPFAR, USAID, UNAIDS, Community Partners International or Metta Development Foundation.
The UHF project is funded by USAID under PEPFAR through UNAIDS Myanmar and managed by Community Partners International. The UHF Project provides support to Metta Development Foundation’s drop-in centers in Kachin and Shan States. Metta Development Foundation utilizes a harm reduction approach at its centers. Through this approach, Metta Development Foundation focuses on minimizing the risks and harms associated with drug use. Harm reduction services include the Needle and Syringe Exchange Programme (NSEP) for people who inject drugs (PWIDs).