See also:


Establishing community based drug treatment in Cambodia

Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 28 March 2017
- Community based treatment capacities in Cambodia received a significant boost today, through a coordinated training package that aims to strengthen community-based health services for people who use drugs. The training follows a high-level symposium of ASEAN countries and China held late last year that announced a launch of a new approach to strengthen voluntary community-based health services throughout the region.

As reported in the third Regional Consultation on Compulsory Centres for Drug Users in Asia and the Pacific, 21-23 September 2015, Manila, Philippines, governments from seven countries in the ASEAN region estimated there are close to half a million people confined to compulsory drug treatment centres on a annual basis, usually for use or possession of methamphetamine. At the same time, the effectiveness of drug treatment in centres with prison like conditions has been called into question. Voluntary community level health and counselling programmes for drug users are still insufficiently available not just in Cambodia, but region-wide. In Cambodia, capacities to deliver treatment to people who use drugs are currently in need of more support.

Olivier Lermet United Nations UN UNODC Cambodia drug policy

"The training is a part of UNODC's effort to address these gaps in Cambodia and is based on the original Guidance for Community-Base Treatment and Care Services for People Affected by Drug Use and Dependence in Southeast Asia," and previous engagement of UNODC and partners with the Royal Government of Cambodia and civil society organizations said Mr. Olivier Lermet, UNODC Regional Adviser on drugs and health. "The package introduces community based treatment and care service concepts to those who have never before received practical training on substance use issues, and this is precisely what is currently needed in Cambodia."

The training programme seeks to deliver the necessary knowledge and skills to those who need it most - particularly welfare, community care and outreach workers and others in front line positions. Most importantly, the curriculum is grounded in a strong evidence base, and ultimately aims to equip community implementers with the necessary skills to enable the relevant services to reach the people who need them, where they need them - in their communities. "The focus of this training on day-to-day service delivery will result in more effective drug treatment and care, and contribute to the general well being of the community," said H.E. Pol. Gen. Meas Vyrith, Secretary General of Cambodia's National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD).

The training, and the wider strategy to which it belongs, are a part of a concerted effort by UNODC to work together with countries in the region in moving towards comprehensive, integrated and balanced response, including community-based programmes. This has been a focus of recent agreements of the Mekong MOU on Drug Control and the at the global level at the United Nations General Assembly, with political leaders from around the world, including from Cambodia, agreeing about the need for a new and more balanced approach, ensuring efficient and accountable supply reduction efforts, putting health and evidence based at the forefront of the national and regional responses to drugs.

The process to develop the package has successfully addressed political commitments of the Mekong MOU on Drug Control, ASEAN health and drug frameworks, and the UN General Assembly agreement, providing guidance and a way for government experts to come together to collaborate and put public health and the epicenter of the response to drugs, ensuring a balanced approach inclusive of modern supply reduction . Civil society organizations were also drawn in to discuss the transition from compulsory to community based services for people who use drugs.

Click here to learn more about UNODC's work on drugs and health.

Click here to learn more about the Mekong MOU on Drug Control.