Kicking the Habit (ATS) - Play Trilogy
  by team Tsim Kho (Hmong)

  Play I
  The father and mother are upset. Their son, Neng, is behaving strangely and they don’t know why. Things start to go missing from the house and they begin to suspect that their son is stealing from them.
In fact some time before a dealer approached Neng and persuaded him that taking Yabaa, amphetamines would improve his performance at school. This is just what Neng wanted to hear as he is worried about failing his exams. But soon he is taking the drugs every day and if he doesn’t have any he feels very upset and frustrated. He persuades his sister, Tjamii, to give him her silver earrings, pretending he needs to buy medicine. But the money he gets from selling them is still not enough to pay for his drug habit. He now owes a lot of money to the drug dealer, who is insisting he pays up. The son has no way of paying him. The dealer follows him to the family home demanding goods in payment for the drugs. The family have been out looking for their son who has not been home for several days. They come in just as the dealer and their son are preparing to leave with the family’s valuables.
The father stops them and demands to know what is happening. Now he discovers the reason for his son’s strange behaviour. He is addicted to Yabaa (the crazy drug). The dealer still wants his money. The father agrees to pay him on the condition that he gets out of his house and stays away from his son. The dealer agrees but says that Neng will not be able to give up and will come to find him anyway to buy drugs. Now the family question their son asking him why he is taking drugs. Why didn’t he talk to them about his problems instead of getting involved with strangers? The son is very nervous and upset, he is only thinking about getting his next high. He attempts leave, the family try, but cannot restrain him. Now the son runs off and they don’t know where to find him.
  Play II
  Neng, who is addicted to amphetamines, has run off to hide and take drugs in the forest. His family cannot find him. They are worried that the amphetamines are destroying his brain and making him crazy. They consider their options. Does he belong in hospital? They could lock him in their house until he got over his addiction and keep watch over him. But they have heard that addicts can get violent when deprived of the drug and they are not sure they can restrain him. They have heard that a new detoxification centre just opened nearby and they think about sending Neng there, but they would need to raise 500,000 Kip to do so, thats more than double the families savings. Their son’s addiction is also costing them a lot of money and casting their lives under a dark cloud of worry. They cannot decide what to do.
So they go first to see the police and an officer goes with them to the forest to find their son. They manage to catch him and put him in jail in the district capital. The mother goes to town to be close to Neng for a few days and visit him every day. He is in a terrible state. The mother goes to see the district drug office. The official recommends her to send her son to the new detoxification centre. She decides to try to raise the money.
Back in the village, Neng’s sister, Tjamii and his girlfriend, Maeha, are out the front of the house where there is a small party, when the dealer approaches them and offers them drugs. Maeha thinks it would be fun to try some, but Tjamii reminds her what happened to Neng. But the girlfriend, Maeha says she can control it, unlike her boyfriend. Tjamii protests and says Maeha is fooling herself that the drug always controls the person taking it not the other way around. Maeha refuses to listen and goes inside with the dealer. Neng’s sister stays outside as Maeha goes in with the dealer. She thinks of her brother in jail and feels sad.
The family has raised the money for the detox and the son is taken to the centre. A lot of addicts are staying there together and they tell each other their stories.
The son comes back out and rejoins the family. They tell him they have talked to the rest of the village and he should not worry, they will give him another chance, if he promises to stop stealing and keep away from drugs in the future. Neng promises to try and feels optimistic about succeeding.
A few days later, he is hanging around in the village, it is the dry season, he has no work and is depressed. He has bought some drugs from a friend and now has the agony of decision. Should he take them and feel better for a short while, knowing that this could be the beginning of a new addiction?
  Play III
  Neng takes the drugs, but feels guilty and worried that someone will see him high and realize that he has gone back on his promise not to take drugs again. He feels all mixed up, confused and paranoid, and this trip is not enjoyable at all. He crawls into the dark of a bedroom at the back of his girlfriend’s house and there he wants to sit out the effects of the amphetamines. His heart is beating fast, he is sweating all over and cannot calm down. In fact Maeha comes in to the house and starts to cook dinner. Neng calls out to her, when he is sure she is alone. Maeha is very startled but when she looks at him closely she sees his wild eyes and sweating face and knows he has been taking drugs. He explains how terrible he feels not having any work and she suggests that he try to make a small living by repairing bicycles. In his nervous state, he blurts out that he loves her and asks her to marry him. She hesitates. Then she says that she can only marry him and start a family, if he manages to keep away from drugs. He promises her with all his heart to give up this time and never start again.
A few days later Neng announces to his family that he would like to set up a bicycle repair business and asks his father for some money to buy an air pump and some other tools. His father is happy to help him and the investment required is not a big one. Neng goes from door to door in the village telling people that when they need something repaired they should come to him. When Maeha passes his house, he is busy fixing a bicycle with his new tools lying around him. She smiles happily at him and his heart fills with hope for the future.
One day a friend, Seng, drops by at his shop. He is selling drugs and he begs Neng to buy some. Neng tells him, he is not interested. Seng puts pressure on him saying that Neng is no fun anymore since he came back from the centre. Neng tells Seng that he is being cruel, doesn’t he realize how hard it is for him to give up drugs? Now he has made a new start and he is not going to ruin this chance, not for Seng or anyone. Seng says now Neng has money and can afford whatever he wants, and he should help his friends. Neng looks at him closely. He recognizes some signs in his friend’s eyes, in his nervous gestures and speech that he used to know from himself. Neng asks his friend if he is addicted to amphetamines. First Seng denies it, but then confesses and explains that when he could not pay for his habit, the dealer forced him to start selling in exchange for drugs. Neng makes a decision to help his friend.
They go to see the police and agree to set up a trap for the dealer. Seng arranges a meeting between Neng and the dealer, pretending that Neng is interested in selling. When the dealer hands over a large amount of drugs to Neng to sell, the police come in and arrest him. The dealer is angry when he realizes he has been set up. But Neng tells him very emotionally that he almost ruined Neng’s life and he is not prepared to let him ruin those of other young people in the village. Seng breaks down and cries when he realizes that he is no longer under the dealer’s control. Neng comforts him and promises to help him kick his drug habit. Perhaps they can even work together on his new business.

A few months later, it’s Neng’s wedding day. His girlfriend is looking so beautiful and happy, and all his family and friends have come. Seng is also there and managing to keep away from drugs. The wedding party plays music and sings to celebrate Neng and Maeha’s future life together.