Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Civil society, government meet over anti-drug campaign

Civil society, government meet over anti-drug campaign

National Aids Authority Vice Chair Tia Phalla (centre) and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Neak Yuthea (right) speak at a policy dialogue on drug issues yesterday in Phnom Penh
National Aids Authority Vice Chair Tia Phalla (centre) and Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Neak Yuthea (right) speak at a policy dialogue on drug issues yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Civil society, government meet over anti-drug campaign

A meeting between local NGOs, recovering drug users, government agencies and UNAIDS yesterday highlighted tensions between civil society and the government with regards to substance abuse as authorities express a desire to extend the Kingdom’s six-month-old controversial anti-drug campaign.

HIV/AIDS NGO Khana billed the event as a policy dialogue based around “Support! Don’t Punish”, a global advocacy campaign calling for reforms that emphasise rehabilitation over criminalisation of drug users.

Deputy Secretary-General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs Neak Yuthea defended the anti-drug campaign, saying that in six months, there were “no human rights violations, no blood, no killing”, and claimed that police never sent drug users to prison, only to rehabilitation facilities.

However, Sou Sochenda, a manager at Khana, contended that many of those arrested as drug traffickers during the campaign were in fact engaging in little more than petty dealing to support their own habits, and asked if the government could employ alternatives to incarceration for such cases.

Responding to Sochenda, Yuthea replied, “You cannot mix the law with emotion.”

Ouk Tha, a representative of the Cambodian Network of People Who Use Drugs, asked if the government could release drug users held in detention centres to receive methadone substitution therapy or anti-retroviral treatment for HIV.

Yuthea said that the government should consider establishing more convenient methadone treatment points.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished