At the opening ceremony of the sixth AMMD (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has urged the ASEAN to continue reiterating political commitment at high level to anti-drug efforts at the sixth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD), which opened in Hanoi on October 18.

“Vietnam believes that joint efforts and shared responsibility among ASEAN members will help the bloc realise the common target set in ASEAN plans,” Minister of Public Security Sen. Lieut. Gen. To Lam said at the AMMD opening.

He said the Vietnamese Government has given priority to drug prevention and fight, undertaking synchronous solutions to reduce the supply, demand and harmful effects of drugs; perfecting related legal documents; consolidating anti-drug agencies; and strictly punishing drug crimes.

Vietnam has enhanced bilateral cooperation with ASEAN member countries as well as with the bloc’s partners, especially neighbouring countries, while attaching importance to sub-regional collaboration in the combat, he said.

The country will pour more investments in the work and step up the communication work in order to raise public awareness of drug threats, the minister added.

He noted that Vietnam has seriously, fully and effectively implemented relevant agreements and commitments, towards the building and protection of a strong and united ASEAN Community against drug threats.

The country is ready to make contribution to promoting cooperation in the fight against drug, the representative of Vietnam said.

The AMMD was formed in 2012 and institutionalised in line with the ASEAN Charter in 2015, aiming to improve the efficiency of high-level cooperation in drug combat amidst complex development of drug production, trading and use in Southeast Asia and the world at large.

The sixth AMMD has created an important forum where the delegates will reach solutions to protect the ASEAN Community from drug threats and promote ASEAN’s role in issues relating to regional security and development.

Latest statistics released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime show that at least 250 million people, or five percent of the world’s population, are drug users.

In East and Southeast Asia, the number of heroin users stands at over 3 million, while more than 5 million people are using synthetic drugs. In Vietnam alone, up to some 900,000 people are related to drug use, with 225,000 monitored drug addicts.

Given this, the 6th AMMD is expected to create ASEAN’s common voice in drug matters and present their stance at the 62nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs slated for March 2019.-VNA