Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police continue drug trial sweeps

Police continue drug trial sweeps

Police continue drug trial sweeps

AUTHORITIES pressed on with a controversial trial of a little-known detoxification drug Wednesday, with police continuing to sweep the streets for drug users and one official claiming an early success.

Police in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district apprehended two people believed to be heroin users as part of the dragnet Wednesday, said Sin Vath, deputy chief of the district’s crime office. But the pair were due to be released, he said, because they were judged to be too unhealthy to participate in the trial.

“We wanted to bring them to take the drug detoxification trial,” he said. “Instead we will release them.”

It follows last week’s arrests of at least 17 people who were subsequently enrolled in a controversial drug treatment trial Sunday involving a Vietnamese-manufactured detoxification drug called Bong Sen.

Criticism from rights groups
Human rights groups have slammed the trial as a sham and decried the arrests, and UN and US embassy officials have expressed concern over the news. Authorities, however, insist the drug users have volunteered for the trial.

One official with the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), which is overseeing the trial, is claiming an early success, even though the scheme is only a few days old.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not permitted to speak with the media, said many of the drug users in the trial have “forgotten” about using heroin.

“They do not like eating rice, as they are heroin users, but 70 percent of them are getting hungry when it is mealtime now,” said the official, who is directly involved in administering the trial. “They are getting much better.”
Rights groups, however, are calling the trial an outrage.

“The NACD and the government of Cambodia must immediately stop the trial,” Joe Amon, the director of the health and human rights division of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“The illegal importation and coercive tactics used to put drug users on a wholly unknown and unproven cure for drug dependency is not merely unethical, but a violation of the most sacrosanct of principles of medical ethics.”

The drug’s Vietnamese manufacturers, Fataco Ban Tre, say the orally administered product provides a “gentle detox” over seven to 10 days.
Company officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance