The National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) said in a report release on Sunday that while the number of drug crimes decreased in the first half compared with the same period last year, the amount of drugs involved had increased.
Speaking to The Post on Monday, Meas Virith, secretary-general of the NACD, said: “The number of drug busts decreased by 14 percent compared to the same period last year, and the number of suspects and arrests decreased by 25 percent.”
Virith said from January 1 to July 1, police handled 4,004 drug cases, with 7,945 arrests, including 707 women. Among those arrested were 135 foreigners from 14 countries. Of the 4,004 cases, he said, 2,594 involved smuggling while 1,410 involved users.
He said the total weight of drugs confiscated was 245kg, including 25kg of dry marijuana. He said police also seized 45 cars, 1,051 motorbikes, 2,821 phones, 108 scales, 14 guns and 10 rifles. So far this year, no case involved the seizing or freezing of perpetrators’ assets.
Virith attributed the significant decline in drug busts and arrests and the increase in drugs seized to the NACD gaining more experience.
“Recently hundreds of addictive substances have been seized. This means the measures taken to strengthen anti-drug campaigns has resulted in the authorities becoming more aware of the tricks of the drug traffickers’ trade,” Virith said.
Choub Sok Chamroeun, executive director of HIV-prevention NGO Khana, welcomed the good results achieved by the authorities.
“We should praise the authorities for cracking down on drugs. I think they will continue to eliminate drugs in our country,” he said.
Sok Chamroeun said that along with the work of police, the government had also been paying more attention to healthcare and treatment.
“The urging and support for [addicts] to get health care and treatment at referral hospitals is the most important thing. If the authorities and police can send users to get drug treatment, it will help in the eradication of drug usage."
“If there are no more drug users, the drug market will decline, so treatment is necessary,” Sok Chamroeun said.