Thailand, Lopburi –The Wat Tham Krabok monastery, based in the central province Lopburi, is the nation’s largest free drug rehabilitation facility.
The centre is known for its natural drugs rehabilitation programme, which first started in the 1950s. Over 100,000 opium, methamphetamine and heroin addicts have undergone treatment in the detox programme, which consists of ancient Buddhist meditation practises and the consumption of a secret detoxification potion. The mixture, composed of a wide variety of natural herbs, induces vomiting. A number of Western celebrities have sought treatment for their addiction at Wat Tham Krabok including Christy Dignam, Pete Doherty and Tim Arnold.
The Wat Tham Krabok is especially famous for treating Yaba addiction. Yaba are pills containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine and is one of Thailand’s most prevalent drugs.
Many monks in Wat Tham Krabok are former Yaba users and come from all parts of Thailand. Some come from neighboring Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
One patient, Aom, was a gang member and was heavily addicted to Yaba. He said he also was one of the most talented drummers in his hometown, Nakhon Si Thammarat, in southern Thailand.
According to Aom, his addiction went out of control and ruined his career as a professional drummer. He told Al Jazeera that he frequently got into fist fights with rival gang members and once had his arm broken in a fight. His family sent him to Wat Tham Krabok to undergo treatment for his Yaba addiction.
After his treatment, Aom denounced gang activities and became a permanent monk at the monastery.