The National Authority for Combating Drugs is creating district-level committees comprised of district and city anti-drug police and local authorities to update a database on the number of drug addicts in the Kingdom to improve their treatment and rehabilitation.
During a meeting at Battambang Provincial Hall on Wednesday, NACD secretary-general General Meas Vyrith said the committee is also being set up to formulate more effective strategies in the fight against drugs.
“As an effective mechanism to fight drugs we are creating local-level committees, headed by a deputy district or city anti-drug police chief, to work with commune and village authorities to identify the number of suspected drug addicts in their localities,” he said.
Gen Vyrith said that the committees should identify which locations have high numbers of addicts so that effective action can be taken to reduce the menace of drugs.
He called for cooperation from hotels and nightclubs to report drug abuse and urged parents to report children suspected to be addicts so they can undergo rehabilitation.
“Before they can be treated or rehabilitated, voluntary approval from parents needs to be obtained,” Gen Vyrith said.
Battambang Governor Ngoun Ratanak said that officials have been focusing on identifying the number of addicts in communities across the province.
“The Provincial Hall is cooperating with police and experts to disseminate information, especially through forums, to the public about drug issues,” he said.
Mr Ratanak said there should be coordinated action from all parties involved to reduce the number of drug addicts.
Colonel Pang Heang, Battambang city police chief, said he would propose setting up the committee at the next meeting of police chiefs in the province.
“So far, we have only focused on disseminating information about drugs,” he said. “We will now contact commune and village authorities and commune police chiefs to collect data on drug addicts.”
“The updated data will allow for prompt treatment of addicts, including sending them to rehabilitation centers, and strengthen the fight against drugs,” he added.
Col Heang noted that the new strategy requires cooperation from addicts’ families and friends for it to succeed.
In September, the Health Ministry reported that the number of addicts has been steadily increasing, with 1,035 seeking treatment in 2013, 3,101 last year and 3,231 in just the first six months of this year. The report said that most of the addictions stem from methamphetamine abuse.