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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Huge illegal drug haul burned

Huge illegal drug haul burned

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090603_01f.jpg

Officials used event to warn Cambodia's youth about dangers of illegal substances.

Photo by:

AFP

An Australian Federal Police officer walks past burning ephedra herbs during a drugs destruction ceremony on Tuesday.

THE National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) on Tuesday burned more than 2,800 kilograms of ephedra and other psychoactive ingredients on Tuesday that could have been used to make millions of methamphetamine pills, at an event at the Orkas Khnom drug rehabilitation centre on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The materials had been confiscated from Takeo, Kampong Cham and Phnom Penh on March 21, said Kep Chuktema, governor of Phnom Penh, who added that drug trafficking in Cambodia had dropped as a direct result of a government crackdown that netted 80 suspected drug producers.

"Drug trafficking decreased because our authorities are fighting against it vigorously," he said.

Margaret Adamson, the Australian ambassador, attended the ceremony and congratulated the "government for their continued vigilance in the fight against drug production, distribution and drug trafficking".

She assured the audience that Australia would provide further financial and technical support to the NACD.  "No society benefits from a thriving narcotics trade, but developing countries are particularly vulnerable to these negative consequences."

Though the new chairman of the NACD, Ke Kim Yan, said the recent busts had been an important step towards disrupting the drug trade, he acknowledged that the NACD could not afford to be complacent.

"Even though we have cracked down on drug production places, they will thrive again if they have the chance, so our authorities must keep their eyes open all the time," he said.

"A drug is not medicine or food or a game that we should want to test. In fact, it is a serious substance," Ke Kim Yan warned young Cambodians. "All the youths should remember that there is no way that drugs can help make your life better."

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