The number of Cambodians who were forced into drug detention centers or sought out treatment on their own jumped 50 percent last year, according to the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD).
The number of such drug users rose from 11,069 in 2014 to 16,574 in 2015, NACD Secretary-General Meas Vyrith announced at a meeting of the anti-drug body at the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh on Monday.
In addition to those rounded up by police, he said afterward, “we have collected the figure for those who came to receive treatment at health centers, referral hospitals and private centers.”
Asked about the sharp increase, NACD Chairman Ke Kim Yan blamed migration to urban areas, poor law enforcement and Cambodia’s proximity to the Golden Triangle, a methamphetamine-producing region where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet.
“Our crackdown has not been enough,” he conceded.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has been warning of rising drug use in Cambodia for years. It has said that the actual number of users could be as high as 75,000.