Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crystal meth use spreads: report

Crystal meth use spreads: report

Crystal meth use spreads: report

3-story-1.jpg
3-story-1.jpg

According to government figures, the number of drug users nationwide has dropped below 6,000, but methamphetamines dominate the diet of the Kingdom’s dedicated junkies

HENG CHIVOAN

A policeman peruses the new government report on illicit drug use and trafficking, the second of its kind, at a conference Tuesday.

WHILE illicit drug use in the Kingdom has remained stable over the last year, the prevalence of crystal methamphetamine could be on the rise, according to a new report by the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD).

The NACD's "Report on Illicit Drug Data and Routine Surveillance Systems," launched on Tuesday at the Cambodiana Hotel, documents illicit drug use throughout Cambodia and the routes by which drugs enter the country.

"This is the second report of its kind," Lars Pedersen, the head of Cambodia's UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said at the report's launch, adding that its aim was "to improve our understanding of the drug problem in Cambodia."

A key finding of the new report was the discovery of a laboratory on a farm in Kampong Speu where authorities seized chloroephedrine, a precursor chemical in the production of methamphetamine (yaba) and crystal methamphetamine (ice).

The overall number of illicit drug users in Cambodia has declined, the report stated. Government figures put the number at 5,797 in 2007, nearly 1,000 less than the previous year.

The report also noted that 1,719 drug users were admitted to government-run treatment centres in 2007, an increase of 57.7 percent from 2006.

More than 80 percent of these were admitted for methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine use. Two-thirds were between the ages of 16 and 25, and most were either students or unemployed.

The report also says that usage has spread from urban areas to rural parts of the country. Farmers and labourers comprised more than a third of drug users (37.8 percent), followed by street children (16.8 percent) and students (15.4 percent), according to the report.

"In previous years, drug use was largely confined to urban areas, but it is spreading into remote regions such as Kandal, Battambang and Siem Reap provinces," said Lour Ramin, the secretary-general of NACD.

He added that authorities have now expanded their ability to control drugs in all provinces of the Kingdom but that problems still remain.

"The quantity of drugs that cross our country makes us worry, particularly because we have arrested more drug users in 2008 than ever before," Lour Ramin said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all