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Drug Use, Production on the Rise, Officials Warn

The number of drug users and producers in Phnom Penh is increasing, leading to threats as varied as AIDS and terrorism, a city official said Tuesday, as Cambodia celebrated an anti-drug day.

The increase of intravenous drug use threatened to spread HIV, and the increased production could lead to a rise in terrorism threats, Mop Sarin, Phnom Penh deputy governor, said at a speech in front of City Hall to mark the UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

"Drugs are a nuisance to security and well being, [and lead to] the spread of AIDS and terrorism," he said.

Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naruth said Phnom Penh was a transit point for heroine and methamphetamines throughout the region.

"Inactivity in society due to drug use has increased, leading to criminal acts such as robberies, murders, sexual abuse and traffic accidents," he said. "We have more serious problems facing society, such as the spread of AIDS."

In 2006 and the beginning of 2007, 58 drug cases have been prosecuted, leading to 92 detentions, including of 30 foreigners, he said.