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Phnom Penh hosts regional drug event

PHNOM Penh on Wednesday opened a major regional workshop called "Response Beyond Borders" focusing on the prevention of HIV as it relates to the intravenous use of illegal drugs.

The workshop, which is to  conclude today, is a follow up to a January conference in Goa, India, and brings together drug-users, people who help addicts, researchers and politicians to discuss how to improve policy and the delivery of services, while reducing  the rate of incarceration of drug users in Southeast Asia.

Gordon Mortimore, a technical advisor to the HIV/Aids Asia Regional Program (HAARP) and an executive committee workshop member, said Cambodia was chosen to host the workshop as a way to encourage the government's prior efforts in this area.

Another reason why Cambodia was selected as a host is to show support for Korsang, a Phnom Penh NGO that conducts a variety of harm reduction services, including needle exchange and health education, and runs a 24-hour drop-in centre.

Korsang was able to bring 25 drug-users to the conference.

"I brought them ... so they can know they are not alone in this," said Holly Bradford, one of the founders of Korsang.

"I just want to them to feel a part of something," she added.

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