Cambodia’s first drug treatment and rehabilitation center is scheduled to open in early April in Battambang province, where drug use has steadily increased, Battambang police said Wednesday.
The center, which is expected to treat more than 60 people at a time, is being built on two hectares of land in Damnak Dangkao village, Kdol Tahen commune in Bavel district, on the outskirts of Battambang town, said So Sam An, the province’s first deputy police chief. Construction started one month ago.
So Sam An said police have put up about $10,000 for the building’s construction, and some additional funds have been provided by the province’s residents.
He added that he expected police and the province’s social affairs department will provide operational funding once the center is complete, but he said details were still being worked out.
About 600 people in the province were arrested for using amphetamine pills over the past two years, he said.
“If there is not a center for treatment, those drug addicts can become robbers,” he said. “They can rob or steal…in order to earn money to buy drugs.”
On Tuesday, Battambang district police Chief Thouch Ra said his officers arrested 41 suspected drug users, sent them to a two-hour lecture and made them sign contracts promising to stop taking drugs or be sent to court.
“I do not want to jail drug addicts because they are also victims,” Thouch Ra said.