Drugs a growing problem in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos is known as a transit country for drugs as it shares borders with five countries.

Although it is common to see drug dealers and users being sentenced to prison time in Lao courts nationwide, it seems that for every dealer arrested another one pops up to take their place.

Drug traffickers can be found throughout the country and although the authorities apprehend many of them, it is a fact that Laos shares borders with five countries and is a known transit country for drugs, police officials acknowledge.

Head of the Drug Control Office in Savannakhet province, Sisouk Thepthany told Vientiane Times on Wednesday (June 22) that illegal drugs are seized throughout the year by the provincial court following the sentencing of dealers and the figures this year are anticipated to increase slightly. 

“Regarding the drugs seized in Savannakhet, the amount fluctuates a little,” he said.

However, he could not reveal the quantity of drugs that have been seized in the prefecture this year by law enforcement offices because that figure is still being tallied up.

Those seized drugs were burned in the province on June 18 to mark the 29th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Although the trading and abuse of the drug yabba (amphetamines) in Savannakhet province decreased this year, the actual decrease could not be verifed by lack of provincial records, according to an official.

Members of the public are asking as to when drug dealing will end in Laos as it seems to have become a way of life for many people, especially the younger people.

Some relevant authorities mentioned that drug dealer networks have begun using Laos as a transit country to deliver drugs to neighbouring countries, therefore making it difficult to eliminate drug trafficking as Laos shares borders with five countries in the region.

Sisouk said most of the drugs seized in Savannakhet are amphetamine pills but crystal methamphetamine is not found too much as it is more expensive.

In June last year, the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision brought more than 30kg of amphetamine tablets, 41.4kg of dried cannabis, 10kg of amphetamine derivatives, and 3kg of heroin from courts in Vientiane and the provinces to burn in Vientiane to mark the 28th International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

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