Seventy-nine young individuals, previously battling drug addiction at the Ke Sinoun Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in the Sdao commune of Battambang province’s Ratanak Mondol district, have successfully completed their vocational training.

They were awarded certificates recognised by the provincial department of labour and vocational training on October 22.

“Today, 79 students have successfully acquired civil engineering skills. I urge those yet to complete their training to do so and obtain a certificate. This will aid not only their professional journey but also help support their families,” said Ke Sinoun, director of the centre.

Provincial governor Sok Lou, addressing the ceremony, expressed his pleasure with the outcomes for the patients who came to be treated and learn new skills.

“The skills you’ve gained are in high demand. We have a shortfall of skilled workers in areas like electrical networking, telephone repair, motorcycle maintenance and air conditioning services,” he stated.

“To those who have undergone drug rehabilitation, I implore you not to revert. Instead, utilise these newfound skills for personal and familial betterment,” he added.

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace (PDP), voiced his support on October 23.

“Training drug addicts is commendable. All drug treatment and rehabilitation centres nationwide should offer such training courses, ensuring that participants emerge with tangible skills,” he said.

“Relevant authorities, and especially families, should foster a conducive environment through encouragement, devoid of any discrimination,” he added.

In the five year period from 2018-2022, Battambang tackled 3,698 drug-related crimes, resulting in the arrest of 6,020 individuals, according to the provincial administration.

Sok Lou further stressed the commitment of the government towards addressing the drug issue. He noted that efforts persist to eradicate the core of drug distribution.

“By eliminating drug dealers, we naturally diminish the number of users,” he said, emphasising the importance of bolstering educational outreach to all, spanning communities, communes and villages.