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Amendments to Drug Law Coming, if Slowly

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Drug addicts smoking crystal methamphetamine under a makeshift tent in Phnom Penh during last year’s rainy season. KT / Fabien Mouret

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng said yesterday that his decision regarding a request from the National Police to amend the drug law will depend on the results of a study by the National Authority for Combating Drugs on drug addicts currently serving prison sentences.
Speaking to reporters after the closing ceremony of the Annual Review on Drug Control in 2015 yesterday at the Interior Ministry, Mr. Kheng said that amendments to the drug law will need to be considered carefully, despite the explosive growth of drug related offenses in the Kingdom. 
“For this matter, the National Authority for Combating Drugs will do a study. I cannot approve the suggestion immediately. If I approved it now, it could easily confuse and produce mistakes. The amendment of any law requires a study,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, president of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said that the drug law is still too lenient on convicted offenders. 
“There are some cases when the criminals are being released on bail after having sentences reduced from 2 or 3 years. I do not approve of this. Sometimes, those who are sentenced to life in prison are being given reduced sentences of just 20 years,” he said. 
During the meeting, the Interior Minister also proposed prisons segregate drug users from convicted drug dealers, saying the dangers of having the two groups live in close proximity were far greater than having them live apart.
Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a regulation on Monday strengthening his stance in the fight against drugs. 
He demanded the National Authority for Combating Drugs and the Interior Ministry strengthen the number of crackdowns they facilitate as well as provide rehabilitation services for drug addicts.
The regulation also requires the Ministry of Interior to revise the work system in prisons in order to better manage inmates’ interactions with external drug traffickers.

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