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Police, handicraft-maker partner in fundraising scheme to combat drug use

The Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision has entered into a partnership with the Somsanga Drug Treatment and Vocational Training Centre and Handicraft Art Champa Lao to raise money for the Drug Fund, which finances drug awareness campaigns and helps prevent drug trafficking.
Under a five-year agreement signed on Friday, 500,000 polo shirts, 500,000 bags and 500,000 jackets will be made and sold in Laos and other countries.

The main goal of the initiative is to raise money to finance publicity campaigns run by the Drug Fund about the dangers of drug use, and to help impoverished drug users undergoing rehabilitation at the Drug Treatment and Vocational Training Centre to reform their lives and give up drug use.
The agreement was signed at the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre in Vientiane by the Head of Office of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision, Colonel Onphiew Khongviengthong, Head of Office of the Vientiane Public Security Headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel Chanhome Keosoulaxay, and Director of Handicraft Art Champa Lao, Mr Pairat Charoentangsombat.
Drug abuse is an obstacle to economic development and to education. As part of the Golden Triangle region, which is a major drug-producing and trafficking area, the drug trade in Laos is proliferating while the country is also a main transit route for traffickers. Drugs are cheap and readily available.
Last month, over 700 kg of drugs seized in police raids were set alight in Dongmakkhai village, Xaythany district, to mark National Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking.
Among the drugs burned were 385.94kg of amphetamine, 8kg of dried cannabis, 37kg of crystal methamphetamine, 67kg of chemicals used to make methamphetamine, and other narcotic substances weighing 741kg.
According to the Vientiane Public Security Headquarters, over the past year police processed 877 drug-related cases in Vientiane and arrested 1,202 people including 123 women. This figure included 10 foreigners, of whom three were women.
Police seized more than 761,295 amphetamine tablets, 22 bricks of heroin, 219kg of crystal methamphetamine, and about 50 grams of precursor materials.
The government regard drug control as a priority and is actively supervising line departments of the Ministry of Public Security in carrying out their work.
In a bid to curb drug use and trade over the past year, education and outreach through awareness-raising activities has been carried out so that people are aware of the law concerning drugs and realise the full extent of the dangers they pose.
Officials are encouraging people of all ethnic groups to participate in drug suppression and to help tackle this growing scourge.
Drug users are being provided with mental and physical rehabilitation at specialised treatment centres, hospitals, in local communities, and among families. Some recovering drug users are given basic vocational training to help them find jobs after returning to their families following rehabilitation.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update November 26, 2019)

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