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Battambang 'Model Province' in Drug Fight

With drug use on the rise in youths both rich and poor, national counternarcotics officials have chosen Battambang as a "model province" for anti-drug efforts this year.

Methamphetamines and other stimulants have become more and more popular in Phnom Penh, authorities say, a trend that is now affecting towns like Battambang, especially in youths aged 17 to 25.

"These drugs are in many places," Lou Ramine, secretary-general of the National Anti-Drug Authority, said. "The wealthy [youth] look for fun and use them at the clubs. As for the poor, they use them on the roadside or in neighborhoods where they live."

Battambang city official Bun Yoeun said he was happy to have his town participate in the anti-drug campgain.

"Drugs make people immoral, cause negative things to happen in societies, and especially make the country weak," he said.

Naem Nuom, a Battambang resident who joined International Anti-Drug Day July 4 said the country needed strategies to curb the use of dangerous drugs.

The government "must have a law and, second, form a center to stop or decrease drugs," Naem Nuom said. "We should have measures, and we should have measures from the top level to provincial, communal, village and group level, and do it in every walk of life."