Cambodia and Thailand have jointly established two bordering drug-free villages to serve as an example for both countries.
In Cambodia, officials established O’Anlok village in Battambang province as its drug-free village, while Thai officials established San Sum village in Chanthaburi province as its drug-free village. Both O’Anlok and San Sum share the same border.
Prior to the establishment, both Cambodia and Thailand each created a working group. The Cambodian side was led by Lieutenant General Neak Yuthea, deputy secretary general of the National Authority for Combatting Drugs, while the Thai side was led by Jarae Pokpa, a counsellor tasked with monitoring in Cambodia.
The Cambodian side officiated its drug-free village yesterday with the presence of local officials, the National Police said on its website.
Lt Gen Yuthea said the drug-free village now includes a centre tasked with treating addicts and educating people on the impacts of drugs in order to prevent drugs distribution
“Drug-free means no growing marijuana plants, no possession of drugs, no trafficking, no distribution and no using drugs,” Lt Gen Yuthea said. “This place will prevent drug problems from occurring.”
He added that the authorities will need manpower to push users to receive treatment.
Mr Jarae said the establishment of the Thai drug-free village could not have been done without the participation of local communities.
Major General Uch Sokhon, chief of provincial police, yesterday said the villages will also serve to discourage cross-border drug trafficking.
“The purpose of creating this drug-free village is because we want to keep everyone safe from drugs,” Maj Gen Sokhon said. “It is a place to prevent cross-border trafficking.”
He added that both sides have been discussing to establish more drug-free villages.
Cambodia has also cooperated with Thailand to establish five drug-free villages in the provinces of Stung Treng and Preah Vihear.