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Interior minister calls for drug-free villages

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Minister Sar Kheng talks to people at a pagoda in Preay Veng province on April 11. SAR KHENG VIA FACEBOOK

Interior minister calls for drug-free villages

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has instructed municipal, provincial and district administrations and police chiefs to conduct geographical updates on areas where illegal drugs are not accessible and make plans to designate them “white villages” and “white communes”, a term which means they are drug-free.

Sar Kheng gave the order on April 11, during the inauguration ceremony of the Po Kum pagoda in Russey Srok commune of Prey Veng province’s Peam Chor district. He said authorities must strive to fight against drug crime and turn those places into white villages and communes.

He instructed all local administrations to prevent the use and trafficking of drugs, saying that this is not just a job for the police, but also for the village and commune authorities, and every family. All of them should keep an eye on the children and youth, to make sure they are not tempted by the allure of illegal drugs.

“In some places, there are no drugs yet, so it is necessary to ensure those areas remain drug-free. When drugs come in, they risk ruining people’s lives, especially those aged 15 to 40. People in this age group are particularly susceptible to drugs,” he said.

National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) secretary-general Meas Vyrith told The Post on April 12 that Cambodia has not yet completed a report which determined which villages and communes were free of the influence of narcotics, but said the NACD has laid out plans to keep villages and communes “white”, starting with the provinces along the borders.

He said six provinces have been preparing to introduce the mechanisms which will operate white villages and communes.

Separately on April 12, the NACD general secretariat and the General Department of Prisons agreed to cooperate in organising education and dissemination of the effects of drugs to prison officials and detainees in correctional centres and municipal and provincial prisons.

NACD deputy secretary-general Thong Sokunthea said this cooperation is important as it helps prison officers and detainees to gain a clear understanding of the consequences of drug use.

It could help them avoid future drug problems and they would share their newfound knowledge with their families once they were reunited with their loved ones, he said.

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