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Some 10,000 Cambodians gather to observe int’l day against drug

PHNOM PENH, June 26 (Xinhua) — Approximately 10,000 government officials, civil servants, non-governmental organizations and students gathered at the capital’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday to celebrate the International Day against Drug.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the celebration was to promote awareness among people, especially youths, to understand about serious impacts which are triggered by drugs.

The event was also to promote broader public participation to fight against drug production, circulation, and use effectively.

The minister said that this year’s celebration was at the same time that Cambodia chairs ASEAN and the country has been actively implemented the joint declaration on ASEAN Drug-Free in 2015, which was adopted in the 20th ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in April.

“Cambodia is not a drug producer, but the country is suffering from drugs as if other countries in the region and the world are,” he said.

He said perpetrators have not only used Cambodia as “a drug transit point”, but they have also attempted to use Cambodia as “a base for illegal drug production”; however, “their attempts have been timely and subsequently smashed down and the perpetrators have been seriously punished in accordance to the law.”

Meanwhile, he appealed to developed countries and the United Nations agencies to continue supporting Cambodia in terms of human resources, techniques and materials in order to strengthen the country’s drug control mechanisms.

Cambodia has between 5,000 and 6,000 drug users, most of them are youths.

“Drug costs human life, affects security and public order, and increases violence, crimes, and poverty,” Ke Kim Yan, chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said. “Therefore, participation from all relevant parties is very vital to combat against drugs effectively.”

The International Day against Drug was firstly observed in 1987 to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society and to help create an international society free of drug abuse.

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