VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Following the introduction of the National Agenda on Resolving the Drug Problem, intensified police operations around the country resulted in the seizure of almost 140 million amphetamine pills from January to November.
Police raids and interceptions also netted sizeable quantities of other drugs.
The figures were reported to the National Assembly on Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security, General Vilay Lakhamfong.
Police are focusing on prime targets in the trade and transport of drugs and have processed 4,707 drug-related cases in the past 11 months, arresting 6,873 suspects.
The drugs confiscated by police included 139,587,060 amphetamine pills, 2,199 kilograms of crystal meth, 175 kilograms of heroin, 1,930 kilograms of ketamine, and other illegal substances.
During the course of their operations, police impounded 162 vehicles, 724 motorbikes and a boat used in the transport of drugs.
Police also identified more than 2,000 opium poppy fields in eight northern provinces, where they cut down 617 hectares of plants.
Centres for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts treated 3,802 people, of whom 1,222 who have recovered and returned home, while 2,580 others are still undergoing rehabilitation.
Next year, public security teams will broaden their operations in a concerted bid to tackle the burgeoning drug problem and curb the transport and abuse of drugs in the country.
They will also address the causes and conditions that lead to drug problems and work to create a peaceful, orderly and safe society that is conducive to economic, cultural and social development.
The Ministry of Public Security will publicise the issue and ensure that the law on drugs is widely understood and obeyed in every province and every district.
Anti-drug campaigns will be conducted in villages, all levels of educational institutions, and in the public and private sectors.
Schools will be encouraged to support the prevention and suppression of drug abuse and the work of investigating agencies, the People’s Prosecutor Office, the People’s Court, and the Organisation for the Implementation of Court Decisions will be made more efficient and productive.
In general, more specialised work will be carried out to tackle the drug problem in a systematic and strong manner.
More detailed statistics on drug users will be kept and the work of drug treatment centres will be enhanced, both in local communities and in the provinces, so that they are more effective.
Reformed drug addicts will be given professional training and support to improve their way of life.
The ministry will also strengthen international cooperation in the development of alternatives to opium and cannabis cultivation, the control of drug precursor chemicals, and effective management of drug research centres.