Prime Minister Hun Manet has reaffirmed his commitment to the fight against drugs, with the goal of transforming Cambodia into a country where drugs are no longer an obstacle to the Kingdom’s development.

“As a signatory to various conventions and protocols, I want to express our commitment and strong will to make the fight against drugs a high priority of the seventh-mandate government. We have the clear vision of building Cambodia into a country where drugs are no longer an obstacle or a problem for society,” he said.

He made the statement in a June 21 statement, released to mark the upcoming June 26 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

People’s Centre for Development and Peace (PDP) president Yong Kim Eng said people have been waiting for a long time to see this commitment become a reality, and this may be seen as a source of hope for drug reduction in Cambodian society.

“However, I think people are waiting to see the development of [this commitment]. As a social affairs observer, I am waiting to see the evolution of the practical measures that the government will release so that drugs can disappear from Cambodian society.

“I hope that Manet’s commitment will include concrete measures that are implemented effectively, and we look forward to seeing how effective this implementation is,” he told The Post on June 21.

Manet said that Cambodia is negatively affected by drug-related activities, which meant drug use is continuing to occur and even spread to rural areas.

He advised the provincial authorities to continue to strengthen the safe village and commune policy by eliminating the distribution and use of drugs in their communities.

Kim Eng said that in order to liberate dozens of young Cambodians from the trap of drugs – and prevent other young Cambodians from falling into the same trap – requires the active participation of the public, as well as the authorities.

He explained that the participation of the public means they must have the opportunity to report any drug-related activities they encounter, so the authorities can take timely action. He added that it is also important that people who dare to speak out are protected.

 “There needs to be effective communication, as well as a means of coordinating regular anti-drug action from the commune level to the national level. There should be as many educational awareness campaigns as possible, especially on television and social media,” said Kim Eng. 

In his statement, Manet called on all stakeholders to take part in raising public awareness of the harmful and destructive effects of drugs. He also encouraged the private sector to invest in educational campaigns by all means and in all forms.

“Investment from all sectors in the promotion of drug education is an indispensable driving force of the work being done by the government to ensure the drug problem is no longer an obstacle to the development of society,” he said.

The prime minister called for an increase in the testing of officials from all ministries, institutions and sub-national administrations and urged that strict measures be taken against those who were found to be involved with drugs.

He explained that this will promote confidence in the authorities, as well as efficiency, good governance and cleanliness.

Manet noted that in 2023 and early 2024, thousands of drug offenses were investigated. Tonnes of drugs, paraphernalia and chemical precursors were seized, while thousands of suspects were arrested and sent to court for legal action.