THE FIFTH PRECEPT PROJECT
Reducing Substance Abuse in Thailand…
I choose to do this topic on a social network level and specifically chose to create a Facebook group named “The Five Precepts of Buddhist Practice” because realize that substance abuse is a global problem that exists in big and small scale. Recently, I had to the opportunity to walk the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles. It was very depressing and it is hard to believe there are people in America, the most powerful nation in the world, living in that kind of condition. The problem maybe many things combined, it is evident that the majority of the people there are drug and alcohol abusers. Whether in a big country like America or a small country like Thailand where I am from, substance abuse will ruin lives the same way. Drugs and alcohol, once they take over a person’s life, they will ruin not only health, but destroy relationships, properties, and eventually take lives. Addictions can be very hard to break. I am hoping this forum I am creating will get people to come together and raise awareness.
I find that education is the key to enlighten people of the risk of substance abuse. Educating people on what to do and how to prevent it from happening, I think, will help people live their lives better and happier. You do not have to be a Buddhist to follow the Five Precepts. But it would help if you understand it and try to apply the rules to your life. This topic is most beneficial to young adults who may be faced with peer pressure and on the verge to taking drugs. If this forum will somehow reach someone and help them choose the right path, it is worth it. I hope a lot of people will participate and I hope Buddha’s teaching will be helpful to everyone involved directly or indirectly in the way of spiritual leadership training.
The topic I choose to discuss about is addiction in Thailand. Whether it is addiction to alcohol, drugs, or any kind of outside influence, it causes a person to be careless and mindless. It alters a person’s mental ability and, more often than not, causes them to make bad judgment. Being influenced by alcohol and/or drugs changes a person’s mind, attitude, judgment, and if a person is dependent on it, they can become highly addicted to it. Once it gets to the point of addiction, it can ruin their health, tear up a family/relationship, cause them to lose their job or social status, and many other unpleasant and destructive circumstances
To be addicted to something causes you to lose your freedom – you need to have it, drink it, inhale it, inject it, or use it in order to survive and go on with your life. That is a form of attachment. In Buddhism, this form of addiction is breaking of the fifth precept (there are five main Precepts), which is to refrain from intoxication whether it is alcohol or drugs.
Poverty and homelessness issues often times stem from drug and alcohol abuse. Once people become addicted to substance, they use more to forget their problems and to escape from pain. The more they use, the more addicted they become. The more addicted they become, the more trouble they are in. It is a vicious cycle. It is an addiction that requires both physical and mental help.
I believe the Buddha’s teaching, although set over 2500 years ago, can be applied back then and can be used in this day and age as well. Drug and alcohol abuse is a big problem everywhere in the world. It is the cause of many health issues. Overdosing on drugs causes instant death while alcohol abuse shortens a person life. It is a death sentence waiting to happen, and it is all from the addiction.