|Mùa A Páo, talking with a Lóng Sập border guard, Sơn La Province.— VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức|
SƠN LA — Life can be tough in Lóng Sập, in the north western province of Sơn La, but it doesn’t get much tougher than in Buốc Pát Village.
Many residents living in the 18 households are extremely poor, and as is often the case, with poverty comes drug abuse.
Mùa A Páo, an addict for 20 years, served a two-year prison sentence for illegal drug possession. Páo's eldest son is also currently behind bars, jailed for trafficking.
Three years ago when he was released from prison, Páo was encouraged by officers and soldiers of the Lóng Sập Border Guard Station and the local government to stay away from drugs.
Páo then turned his life around.
During his time in prison, he received drug addiction treatment. The two years in jail were the time when Páo overcame the struggles and the irresistible desire for drugs.
"I no longer need drugs to maintain the balance of my body,” he said.
“Now, I don't want to have anything to do with drugs anymore.”
After completing his prison sentence and returning to his hometown, Páo received support and assistance from border guards and the local government to develop his own farming business.
Páo said: “Currently, my wife and I are doing very well. Every year, we have more than twenty bags of rice, twenty kilograms of corn, as well as corn and rice fields, we also have chickens and goats," said Páo.
Sitting by the fire in the middle of his home, Mùa A Dê, the chief of Buốc Pát, shared that almost every household in the village has someone addicted to drugs or in prison because of drugs.
According to Mùa A Dê, the spiral of drug addiction was explained by the fact that the village is close to a drug hotspot.
At one time, people in the village who worked across the border became involved in drugs, became addicted, and then illegally transported drugs for others.
"In recent years, in addition to arresting violators, the police and border guards have been actively promoting the law and the harmful effects of drugs to the people in the village,” Dê said.
“Many people in the village have realised that being involved in drugs will affect their health and economic development. The border guards not only help the people of Buốc Pát village to create livelihoods, eradicate poverty but also do many meaningful things for the people.”
One such act is the "Meal for Kids" program organised by the Lóng Sập border station at Buốc Pát Village.
Thanks to the special care of the border guards, young students, have learned to read and write, and became aware of the importance of knowledge and the horrors of drugs.
In 2021, Lóng Sập Commune was recognised as a second-class area, including Buốc Pát Village. However, students in these areas did not receive support for school meals and had to rely on home-raised livestock. Additionally, the education department did not offer primary or secondary school classes in remote locations, forcing students to travel to the commune centre after finishing preschool.
As a result, some families had difficulty supporting their children's education, causing some students to drop out. To address this, the "Meal for Kids" program was implemented in Buoc Pat Village, serving as a specific and effective solution.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Phạm Văn Tài, Deputy Head of the Lóng Sập Border Guard Station, implementing measures to keep students in school is crucial to enhancing the community's economic, cultural, social, and defence capabilities.
"This is an important measure to strengthen the collective unity between the people and the officers to prevent drug use," said Tài. — VNS