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Drug Use in Cambodia on the Rise: Official

Drug use in Cambodia is on the rise, an official said Monday, as authorities destroyed more than 300 kilograms of drugs, including heroin, at a ceremony in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia has seen an increase in the use of illicit drugs parallel to a global increase, said Kang Kong Kil, a representative of the Liaison Office for International Cooperation in the Golden Triangle Region.

The drugs, which were burned in a ceremony at Olympic Stadium, were confiscated nationwide over the past year, said Ouk Sovuth, a Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor.

More than 1,000 people attended the ceremony, held to celebrate International Day Against Drugs, including members of the military police, police, civil service, non-governmental agencies and local high schools.

"We should not forget that the victim of the drug problem is first of all Cambodian youth," said Lars Pedersen, a representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. "Most drug abusers are teenagers or young adults. Drug abuse often throws them into a desperate situation with much suffering, a situation which they cannot control and which leads to conflict with the law, serious crime, mental illness, problems with the family and friends, problems with the school or the work and in the end to a failed life."