Massive Drug Stash Goes Up In Smoke

A massive quantity of drugs went up in smoke at That Luang esplanade to mark the 27th Anniversary of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong among those in attendance.

Senior government officials, United Nations representatives and personnel from international organisations were also present on the occasion, with the confiscated drugs estimated to be worth around US$17.5 million (about 135 billion kip).

Drug stashes and shipments intercepted in Vientiane and the provinces were among those to be burnt, after the courts ordered their destruction.

Chairman of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) Mr Kou Chansina delivered a report on drug seizures in Laos at the burning ceremony.

The illicit drugs to go up in smoke on the day included over 3.8 million amphetamine tablets, 238.5kg of heroin, 47.8kg of raw opium, 1,480kg of dried cannabis, 83.5kg of morphine, and 22.3kg of ya ice.

LCDC Chairman Mr Kou said this year they had closed 1,581 drug cases and arrested 2140 offenders including 420 females and 54 foreigners.

Currently, around 65 percent of families in the country are drug-free, 37 percent of secondary schools nationwide have been declared drug free, along with 27 percent of villages in Laos.

Drugs are a human problem worldwide. They have a tendency to become an inherent evil which affects all people of the world and unfortunately, this epidemic has reached many localities in Laos.

Hence, the party and state of Laos have thus far enlisted drug prevention and resolution of drug problems as among their primary tasks and have consciously led and monitored the implementation of such efforts.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), illicit drugs threaten people’s health and welfare. Up to 200,000 people die every year due to illicit drugs but they don’t only affect the user, they cause tremendous hardship and misery for families and loved ones.

UNODC’s theme for this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking offers a message of hope: ‘Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable’.

Those who suffer from drug use disorders can be supported through evidence based treatment and many of those who die, do so from overdoses that are preventable.

Children and young people must also be educated on the dangers of illicit drugs.

Last year the drugs, which were burnt to mark the same day, were valued at more than US$18 million (almost 140 billion kip).

The illicit drugs incinerated last year included 5.2 million amphetamine tablets, 2,212kg of dried cannabis, 307 kg of crystal methamphetamine, 18kg of compressed heroin, 1.4kg of heroin powder, and 3.2kg of a substance resembling heroin.

The LCDC, Ministry of Public Security, Vientiane Commission for Drug Control and Supervision and UNODC jointly organised the burning ceremony of seized drugs to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Source: Vientiane Times