The Chairperson of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision chairs the Sector Working Group. The Ambassadors of Japan and Australia and the Officer in Charge of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are co-chairs.
Drug policy in Lao PDR has had to tackle three separate, overlapping problems:
Officers from Lao PDR and Cambodia get training to boost cross-border cooperation. Photo: UNODC
- Lao PDR remains a significant producer of opium. Preliminary data from the UNODC suggests that the total area under opium cultivation in 2015 was 5,900 hectares, down from 6,200 in 2014. In most of the areas targeted by alternative development interventions opium production has been significantly reduced.
- Drug use appears to be on the rise. The policy response is based on a public health approach. The Lao Government has continued to invest in in-patient drug treatment centres as its primary response. 11 centres were operational by mid 2015, and another five will be completed in the next few years. At the same time, UNODC and a number of international partners have invested in a community based treatment pilot project.
- Significant quantities of opiates, ATS and precursors continue to be trafficked through Laos to neighbouring countries. Further investments have been made in improving border control, especially in the network of border liaison offices. The criminal justice system has sought to direct its resources towards the people and networks that orchestrate, manage, and control the drug industry.
A new National Drug Control Master Plan was drafted in 2015. The plan will be implemented until 2020. The new plan is based on a review of the 2009 – 2015 Master Plan, and offers a set of evidence based and pragmatic measures to mitigate the harmful effects of illicit drugs in the country.
For more information please see the Sector Working Group Progress Report