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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drug users need tough love, not needle exchange

Drug users need tough love, not needle exchange

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter “Needle exchanges help those most in need”, by Holly Bradford, published on Wednesday, September 30.

Ms Bradford is not totally right. In a democratic society, if you do not listen to the majority of the people in your community, you lose. You can be morally wrong, even if your intentions are right.

Have you ever heard of tough love, Holly? That is what should be happening to drug users. What makes a substance illegal in the first place? Isn’t the law made for and by the majority?

People are criminals if they break these laws. Shouldn’t they be incarcerated or pay for their mistake if they have done something wrong?

I totally agree with the Khmer people who have voiced their displeasure with the [needle exchange] programme. They would have done so a long
time ago if they had seen what has happened to Vancouver.

Dignity and compassion are earned if one does not break the law in the first place.

The way to give drug users dignity and compassion is to lock them in a holding or treatment centre until they are cured. Then, they can be allowed to live in communities with the majority of the population again. This is called responsibility.

This is an important issue for all cities, globally, so here is my advice to the governor of Phnom Penh and to any other municipal government in Cambodia: Would you please have a look at the programme Ms Bradford is running and compare it to that of the city of Vancouver and that of New York City to see how these cities are coping with this issue?

In my opinion, New York City has done a great job in the last decade when it comes to coping with drugs and gang-related crime. New York today is not like it once was.

For the city of Vancouver, however, things have gotten worse as millions of taxpayer dollars are pouring into a [needle exchange] programme that does not work.

I am talking about two rich cities with educated citizens. Cambodia can learn from their examples.

Chansokhy Anhaouy
Vancouver, Canada

Send letters to: or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.



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