PHNOM PENH —
Some 2,000 imprisoned drug addicts have been tested as part of an ongoing clampdown on the narcotics trade in Cambodia’s jails, officials say.
The government announced the campaign in late December and said it will last until the end of June.
Identified drug users will be placed in rehabilitation centers.
Noch Savna, prison department spokesman, said the detainees had had urine samples taken and the authorities would release the findings in 20 days time.
“If the results are positive we will hand them to the experts for further inspection and investigation,” he said.
A spate of reports about drug use and trafficking in prisons prompted the inspections.
Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager at local rights group Licadho, said he thought the move was a positive step towards reducing addiction in Cambodia’s prisons.
“There is drug consumption and importation so far in prison since the drug trafficking proceeds systematically and the authority only cracks down on the small-scale trader, not the large-scale one,” he said.
He added that the country “lacked the tools to examine” the drug problem and claimed that “in some cases the authorities are involved with the importation of illegal drugs.”
Last year, the authorities made more than 4,000 drug arrests and seized more than 175 kilograms of narcotics.