Cambodia is cracking down on a raw ingredient for the club-drug ecstasy by wiping out stocks of an oil made from the roots of a rare rainforest tree, an official said on Thursday.
Cambodian authorities, with help from Australian police, will destroy 14 tonnes of sassafras, an ingredient for cosmetics but also a precursor chemical to make methylenedioxymethamphetamine, more commonly known "MDMA" or the party drug ecstasy.
The amount represents all known stocks of sassafras oil in Cambodia and will be the second-largest volume destroyed since the authorities made the oil illegal in 2007, said Cambodia Police Major General Meas Vyrith.
"It is dangerous," Meas Vyrith told Reuters. "It would make people become victims of the drug."
The crackdown is also aimed at preserving a rare tree found deep in Cambodia's jungles. The roots and trunk of the M'rea Prov Phnom tree provide the source of the oil. Illegal logging is threatening the tree with extinction.
"Without the right measures, they would all be destroyed," said Meas Vyrith, who is also a deputy secretary-general of Cambodia's anti-drug committee.
The oil will be destroyed on Friday in Battambang province, about 300 km (186 miles) northwest of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, using an Australian Federal Police technique aimed at minimising smoke and environmental damage, Meas Vyrith said.
Cambodia destroyed 35 tonnes of the oil in 2007.
By Prak Chan Thul
January 27, 2010
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.