Sar Kheng, former interior minister and currently a lawmaker for Battambang province, implored stakeholders to redouble their commitment to combat drug trafficking in the country.

Sar Kheng made the call while overseeing a boat race in Battambang province on October 29

Recognising the impact of the drug issue on security, society, the economy and overall well-being, Sar Kheng underscored the imperative for unified efforts. He said it demands a collaborative resolve to address this challenge both within the nation and throughout the region.

“I implore civil servants at all levels, authorities, institutions and particularly our youth, to champion the implementation of the safe-village commune policy, with a focus on combating the issue of drugs. It’s a formidable challenge, and our success in this battle is of paramount importance,” he said.

“I recall that throughout the past six government mandates, I underscored the imperative of curbing the drug menace. We must not allow drugs to hold sway over us; instead, we must maintain control,” he reiterated.

He highlighted that while the current state of the drug issue is being managed, patterns of drug usage are evolving. Without effective control measures, this problem could reach a point where it becomes uncontrollable, posing risks not only to public health and society as a whole.

To tackle the drug problem comprehensively, he stressed the necessity for unified collaboration from all stakeholders, backed by unwavering determination to actively engage in drug education and awareness.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, expressed concerns about the detrimental impact of this problem on youth. He said that failing to address it in a timely manner is resulting in the suffering of young people and jeopardising their future.

“This matter requires the authorities to rigorously enforce the law, with an emphasis on enhancing the implementation of policies at the village and commune levels. The rising instances of drug trafficking and usage underline the urgency of fostering collaboration with stakeholders. Together, we can make significant strides in curbing the drug-related issues affecting the youth and the wider population,” he said.

During an October 30 event to inaugurate a new administrative building and declare Kampong Speu a mine-free province, Prime Minister Hun Manet said landmines are no longer a primary concern for the population. Instead, the prevalent worry relates to ensuring public safety in the face of the dangers posed by drugs.

“We are no longer at risk of war or landmines, but our people’s primary concerns now revolve around social security, drug problems, criminals and gambling,” he said.

In connection with the crackdown on drugs, he announced the formation of the National Committee for Drug Control, comprising senior officials from relevant ministries. Its aim is to enhance the effectiveness of drug reduction, ultimately leading to eradication.

He underscored that even though the committee has been established, it cannot eliminate the issue all at once; it necessitates public participation and cooperation.