The Japanese government will contribute more than $1.2 million through a UN program to study drug treatment and rehabilitation methods in Cambodia, Japan’s foreign ministry announced Friday.
According to Graham Shaw of the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, the money will be distributed to three NGOs and a government agency, all of which have yet to be determined. The research will focus on treatment for a broad range of people addicted to drugs, he said.
“For the mainstream population, there is nothing available,” Shaw said Sunday, noting treatment programs already exist for specific groups like street children.
He said the organizations chosen will receive technical training, then begin treating addicts with various methods to see what works and what doesn’t.
Shaw estimated that between three and four percent of Cambodians are addicted to drugs. The easy availability to and low cost of drugs are helping those numbers increase, Shaw said.
He said the government has realized the impact rampant drug use is having on the population, which explains its recent focus on the issue.
“Cambodia is rapidly becoming a leader in drug control in
Southeast Asia,” he said. “They have seen the practical impact on families, the police and economy. The evidence is just overwhelming.”
Chamroeun Ngan, deputy secretary-general of National Authority for Combating Drugs, welcomed the Japanese announcement.
On Friday, the National Assembly ratified three UN drug control conventions.