At an anti-drugs workshop in Stung Treng province on Wednesday, authorities called on neighbouring countries to step up efforts to prevent drug-related cross-border crimes along Cambodia’s frontiers with Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

The comments were made at a workshop at the Stung Treng Provincial Hall which covered the monitoring of drugs in the northeast and the implementation of a “No Drugs in Villages and Communes” scheme.

The National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) spokesman Meas Vyrith said the plan was created in 2017 with members from national, provincial, district and commune levels to help their village level counterparts.

Vyrith said that because the local officials’ knowledge of drugs related issues remained limited, they needed help from experts at the national level to educate them about strategies to crack down on drug crimes.

The plan needs effective participation from relevant experts and forces to track down and monitor the activities of drug traffickers, he said, adding that they can also advise local officials on how to grow vegetables and improve agricultural work to stop people from turning to drugs.

“To implement the plan and the law effectively, we need teamwork from the national level to help provincial officials. They then help district officials who help commune officials, who finally assist village officials."

“We need to examine what they don’t have but need in order to combat this problem [of drugs]."

“After finishing this workshop, we must prepare a mechanism to establish the ‘No Drugs in Villages and Communes’ plan along the borders to protect the flow of drugs from other countries into Cambodia,” he said.

Vyrith also warned those in attendance against colluding with drug gangs. “So far there has been such issue happening, but this is just a reminder from the leader [Prime Minister Hun Sen],” he said.

Mom Saroeun, Stung Treng provincial governor, declined to comment on Wednesday.