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NACD holds anti-drug class for women

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The training to promote parents’ participation, especially women, in drug use prevention is held on Wednesday. INTERIOR MINISTRY

NACD holds anti-drug class for women

Cambodia hosted the sixth meeting of the ASEAN Ports Drug Control (APDC) working groups online on November 10 while the Ministry of Women’s Affairs – in collaboration with the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) – conducted training courses for women to empower them to take a greater role in efforts to prevent drug use and to aid efforts to disrupt the multi-billion dollar global black market drug trade.

The sixth meeting of the APDC working groups was attended by 10 ASEAN member countries’ representatives as well as officials from the ASEAN secretariat.

The purpose of the meeting was to share updated information on the drug situation in Southeast Asia – including any new drug threats – and to discuss future cooperative efforts to enhance the capacity of ASEAN law enforcement agencies to counter the activities of drug traffickers.

Mak Chito, deputy secretary-general of NACD who was tasked with chairing the conference, said that although all countries had to deal with the Covid-19 crisis the drug problem showed no signs of decline during the pandemic.

He added that synthetic drugs made from new chemical compounds had been circulating in the region to supply the drug market when the traditional forms of contraband weren’t available and that this made the apprehension of international criminals and the prosecution of cross-border crime a more complex and difficult undertaking.

He called on all ASEAN member countries to work together more effectively on these large-scale drug cases because the drug problem remained a concern both in the ASEAN region and across the world.

“I hope that our meeting today will help us come up with new initiatives to make sure that all our law enforcement mechanisms are strengthened and expanded in response to the changing dynamics of the drug trade in the present day context of Covid-19,” he said.

That same day, the General Secretariat of the NACD – in tandem with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Koh Kong provincial drug control committee – conducted regional training course for women from the women’s ministry to become head trainers who would then be sent to their home provinces to train groups of other women in what they’d learned.

The General Secretariat of the NACD said that all of the regional anti-drugs head trainers were recruited from Phnom Penh and seven provinces– Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kandal and Siem Reap.

“The purpose is to develop a body of knowledge among officials at the women’s ministry to use as a basis for mobilising the participation of women – including grandmothers, mothers, aunts and sisters – to prevent the use, distribution and sale of illegal drugs in our communities,” said an official from the NACD.

Koh Kong deputy provincial governor Tou Savuth said that drug use increased the crime rate and threatened security and public order in Cambodia’s communities while also ruining the lives of individual drug users which then required expensive interventions by the state in the form of rehabilitation or imprisonment and that this is why prevention will remain a priority – it may not be cheap, but it still has a lower price tag than the alternatives.

Long Sophally, undersecretary of state for the women’s ministry, said that as of 2019 in prisons in the capital and all of the provinces a total of just 28 woman inmates were serving sentences for drug crimes.

“Drugs are also a contributing factor in motivating [male] users to commit domestic violence and violence against women or human trafficking and other crimes,” she said, adding that this was based on a survey through face-to-face interviews with women in seven provinces.

She believed that the establishment of the working group to prevent drug use will contribute to the prevention of drug use and encourage more active and effective implementation of the safe village-commune policy.

NACD secretary-general Meas Vyrith applauded the cooperation between the women’s ministry and the anti-drugs interior ministry department he speaks on behalf of.

“Taking part in these activities now is very important because the drug problem in Cambodia has spread out to the countryside and is affecting the general population – including young women – so we must work together to solve this problem,” he said.

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