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Reduce harm, but also address local concerns

Dear Editor,

If one considers the article “Locals say syringe handouts draw criminals” (September 28), it clearly states that this is not an issue against the use of harm-reduction methods, but an issue about Korsang and how it is running its drop-in centre.

The article read: “Chamkarmon Deputy Governor Prum Sakhan, however, said the authorities stood by residents’ claims. ‘Korsang helps the government fight drug use, but their drop-in policy is irresponsible.’”

For Korsang representatives to turn this debate into one about harm-reduction is deviating from the important concerns of the local community about the direct impact the drop-in centre has had on their area.

If one visits Korsang, it seems the centre functions more like a homeless shelter for drug users than a place which is providing essential materials and tangible solutions.

There is no doubt Korsang could offer very important services. However, it is also important to listen to the local community and their concerns, which are most likely genuine and causing some distress. Maybe the focus should be on how to run Korsang in a way that respects the local community and provides an environment for drug users to improve their situation, rather than a place to glorify the way certain individuals are “saving” Cambodia’s drug addicts.

Rotha Peng
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.com 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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