Lao National Assembly. (File photo from Nouthaphone Simmavong).

During the ongoing National Assembly session, its Standing Committee has called on the government to keep tackling the country’s drug problem as part of its National Agenda.

As a representative of the National Assembly Standing Committee and Deputy President of the National Assembly, Lt. Col Souvone Leuangbounmy spoke about this issue on Thursday, advising the government to raise awareness about the harmful effects of illicit drugs within communities, schools, hotels, and entertainment venues.

According to Lt. Col Souvone, the growing use of Kratom leaves, MDMA Laced Coffee, electronic cigarettes, and nitrous oxide balloons need to be combated through detailed and precise legislation, that is implemented as part of the country’s drug policies. The use of the death penalty as a preventative measure was also discussed during the meeting.

He added that the government needs to support law enforcement at local levels by providing equipment, and vehicles for police officers across provinces. The police force must also be transparent and tenacious when dealing with high-profile drug crimes. Moreover, offenders of other drug-related crimes like theft, robbery, murder, prostitution, human trafficking, money laundering, and illegal gambling must also be penalized.

Lt. Col Souvone said that the Ministries of Public Security, Health, Labor, and Social Welfare should collaborate to treat victims of drug addiction and provide them with job opportunities after helping in their rehabilitation.

In addition, the Ministry of Public Security should also seek solutions to prevent the overcrowding of prisons at the district and provincial levels and take the assistance of the health sectors to incorporate humanitarian policies across prisons in Laos.

The ministry was urged to keep increasing cooperation on drug-related issues with the international community for support, technical assistance, and the exchange of information.

Lao government declared the nation’s drug problem as a national agenda in 2021 to combat the threat of increased narcotics consumption in the country.