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Govt Spells Out Plans To Tackle Drug Problem

Source: Vientiane Times

The government is acting with great determination to curb the use of and trade in drugs across Laos, amid the spiralling trafficking of narcotics.

A draft of the National Agenda on Tackling the Drug Problem was presented to the 1st extraordinary session of the National Assembly’s ninth legislature so that Assembly members could make comments and ensure the plan is comprehensive, concise and effective.

A report on the National Agenda for the Resolution of the Drug Problem was given by Minister of Public Security, Lieutenant General Vilay Lakhamfong.

He said the drug problem is global and that governments across the world and region are working together to monitor and stem drug-related crime, including violent crime, transnational crime and money laundering, as well address the threat to socio-economic development, political stability and social security.

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In Laos the use of drugs has spread from urban to rural areas and has resulted in social ills such as crime and harm to the wellbeing of society.

Every year, the number of drug offences increases, along with more sophisticated operations and organisation of drug networks, and varying levels of influence, the minister said.

The government has introduced a number of measures to tackle the drug problem and considers it a priority. However, harmful perceptions remain, such as the general belief by the public and various levels of government that the effects of drug abuse are not serious.

This means that effective solutions have not been sought or implemented through the legal system and legislation, which is incomplete in this regard.

In addition, the activities of law enforcement agencies are not yet effective or systematic. As a result, Laos will continue to be affected by the drug problem.

Drug abuse and drug-related crime has spread to people from all walks of life, resulting in rising crime levels.

In light of this disturbing situation, the government is making it a priority to address the issue, with necessary, urgent and appropriate action being put in motion to concentrate all the forces of society to participate in solutions to stem the problem, through the National Agenda on Drug Solution, which contains the following goals:

Awareness raising, education on the harmful effects and dangers of drugs, dissemination of laws and regulations, creation and improvement of laws relating to the drug problem, improving organisational structure, strengthening the political capacity of law enforcement agencies and stakeholders, improving management, directing comprehensive implementation of drug control issues, improving the functional capacity of the political system at every level to guide and lead solutions to the drug problem throughout the country, define the responsibilities of relevant departments at the central and local levels including 23 divisions, and instil shared responsibilities throughout the general public.

In addition, implementation measures have been set out, starting with the leaders of government, ministries and agencies, as well as the provision of a budget to enable the national agenda on drugs to be effective and decisive.