The Municipality and National Authority for Combating Drugs said Tuesday that they will build a rehabilitation center capable of housing up to 500 people in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district.
“We hope the new center could help drug addicts and drug users…
to be freed of drugs by ordering them to [be] sheltered in the center and [do] strong exercises everyday,” said Municipal Deputy Governor Mam Bun Neang.
The National Authority for Combating Drugs will be responsible for securing the funding to build the center, Mam Bun Neang said. He said the center, to be built on 2 hectares of land, will include vegetable gardens and places to exercise.
Officials did not know when construction of the center would begin.
Lour Ramin, deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, estimated that there are more than 1,000 drug addicts in Phnom Penh and more than 5,000 nationwide.
A former amphetamine addict who identified himself only as Dorn, 25, said the best way to help addicts is to house them at rehabilitation centers where they don’t have access to drugs or the resources to buy them.
“My parents gave me money when I was too sick and convulse[d] in front of them…. They cried because they have no idea how to help me,” Dorn said, adding that he eventually managed to stop using drugs on his own.
Municipal officials said they plan to model the new center after Banteay Meanchey province’s military police, who house and rehabilitate addicts from throughout the country at their headquarters, Lour Ramin said.
Rath Sreang, military police commander for the Banteay Meanchey province, welcomed the new center, saying military police are limited in what they can do.
“Most of [the] drug addicts living in my headquarters were brought here by their parents,” Rath Sreang said. “So I want to create other centers to collect drug addicts living along the streets for education and rehabilitation.”