UN Drug Report Says Use of Meth on the Rise in Cambodia

The methamphetamine market in Cambodia has continued to grow, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday, but a senior anti-drug police official said the country has largely reined in the problem.

The report, released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said the use of crystal meth and meth in tablet form had increased in Cambodia in 2013 and identified them as being the “primary drug of concern” for the country.

It adds that 94 percent of drug users seeking treatment are addicted to meth.

According to the report, police seized significantly more amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) across the region in 2013 than in previous years.

“The rapid rise of ATS seizures reported in East and Southeast Asia and Oceania is primarily attributable to the increase of methamphetamine seizures which almost quadrupled from about 11 tons in 2008 to almost 42 tons in 2013,” the report says.

Si Kiri, Preah Vihear provincial police chief, said his province had seen a recent upsurge in drugs being trafficked from Laos.

“The smuggling of drugs has increased from day to day and we are now investigating to find the reason,” he said.

Mr. Kiri said police in the province have seized 11,560 meth tablets smuggled from Laos so far this year. According to the U.N. report, meth tablets have a street value of about $5 apiece.

Despite the reported increase in trafficking in the region and drug use throughout the country, Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said police had been able to stop much of the flow by focusing their efforts along Cambodia’s northeastern border with Laos, where he said most drugs come into the country.

“We are enhancing the capacity building by standing on the front line,” he said. “We are stopping the drug trafficking across the Cambodia-Laos border.”

Mr. Vyrith also claimed there were no signs of meth being manufactured in Cambodia.

In March, Mr. Vyrith said that a combined 50.6 kg of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy was seized last year, compared to 100.9 kg in 2013.

(Additional reporting by Aun Pheap)

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