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Police send 2 tonne drug haul up in flames

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Article from Vientiane Times
Author: Times Reporter
Published: 29/10/2010

Police send 2 tonne drug haul up in flamesVientiane, 29 October 2010 - Police set fire to more than two tonnes of amphetamines on Wednesday after the Vientiane People's Court recommended in July that the huge drug seizure should be destroyed.

Staff from the Ministry of Public Security's Police General Department watched as 2,183kg of amphetamines (21.83 million tablets) went up in flames at the Sanamma Police School in Xaysettha district. Other officials attending the ceremony included Deputy Minister of Public Security Khamsan Souvong, along with representatives from ministries, ministryequivalent organisations and other agencies.

The drugs were seized on February 21 this year when a pick-up carrying four Lao nationals was intercepted on its way to Vientiane in Vangvieng district, Vientiane province. On July 29, the Vientiane People's Court  anded down death sentences to the four men for violating the country's strict drug laws. The haul represented one of the largest drug seizures in Laos, with police believing the amphetamines were destined for distribution to other areas. Police say drugs are becoming a menace to society, as they destroy lives and harm people's health.

Amphetamines are also having an effect on the country's law and order as well as hindering national development and degrading traditional culture. The Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the government are very concerned about the issue and attach great importance to combating drugs. Amphetamines reached Laos in the early 1990s, and in 2001 the government officially declared a national campaign against the highly addictive drug. In the same year, the National Assembly amended Article 135 of the criminal code, imposing the death penalty for certain cases of production, trafficking, possession and transportation of any narcotic drug. In early 2006, the Assembly further amended the criminal code and the former Article 135 was ratified as Article 146, providing more comprehensive and appropriate legislation for the situation in Laos. About 40,000 students aged 13-19 were found to have used amphetamines during urine tests conducted in 17 secondary schools from 2003-2005.

Drugs not only destroy the health of young people but rob them of a future, as well as limiting the country's workforce. Parents everywhere have an important role to play in advising their children and monitoring their activities. In 2010, security forces cracked 470 drug cases and arrested 845 people, of whom 163 were women and 20 were foreign nationals. So far this year police have seized 36.22 kg of heroin, 2.3 tonnes of amphetamines, 150.35 kg of opium and 4,129 kg of cannabis.