Friday, July 3, 2009

Cambodian Government Marks International Anti-Drug Day

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has marked International Anti-Drugs Day at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on June 26. The event underlined the dangers of the spread of drugs in Cambodia. The celebration was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife.

About 10,000 students, former drug addicts, police and government officials attended the Anti-Drug gathering. It was organized by the National Authority for Combating Drug in Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in Cambodia.

The Premier said the drug problem is a global issue but it is now becoming a main concern in Cambodia. He added that Cambodia has now become one of the more notorious drug hubs in the region and the number of people using drugs has increased. This will certainly have a negative effect on the Cambodian economy and society.

Roughly 46,000 people use illegal drugs in Cambodia and the rate is thought to be on the increase, according to a report issued by the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organizations, the Prime Minister said.

“We have calculated that if each person pays as little as US$3 for drugs, we loose about US$50 million every year. This amount of money has been spent illegally and the waste is entirely unnecessary,” he said during his opening remarks at the International Anti-Drug Day.

To reduce drug abuse and smuggling, Prime Minister Hun Sen recommended hard work from the National Authority for Combating Drugs and law enforcement agencies. They have the authority to take strict action against drugs abuses and smuggling activities, and to punish criminals with all the might of the law.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also said that users face a real chance of contracting the HIV/AIDS virus because they shared needles to inject drugs.

“I think that we have to work together and take timely action to prevent the spread of drugs across the country,” he said. “We have to educate our people and organize regular public campaigns everywhere to promote understanding about the dangers and difficulties associated with drug abuse."

Ke Kimyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs in the Ministry of Interior, said Cambodia is not a country producing drugs. However, international drug cartels view the nation as an ideal staging post in spreading their wares to other countries.

To crack down on these activities in Cambodia, Ke Kimyan said that the National Authority for Combating Drugs has been working hard with its partners to hold campaigns and to educate the people so they will understand the problems and avoid drugs completely.

According to a report released by the National Authority, it has investigated 1,714 cases of drug crime and charged 3,514 suspects. About four tons of drug-making materials and equipment used in methamphetamine labs were seized in Kampong Speu province in April 2009. ///

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