Cambodia to destroy all ‘ecstasy oil’ stocks

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 as 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 300km north-west 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. – Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

What comes after the ANC?

We need to reimagine South Africa without the ANC and if we do not, we will either live with false hope or the country’s crisis will intensify

Police fail parents who babies died in alleged negligence incident,...

A lost police case docket and a hospital failing to report alleged medical misconduct adds to parents’ grief after losing twins.

OPINION| Black writers and publishers are South Africa’s ‘linguistic orphans’

The challenges we face in the world of scholarly and leisure reading and writing are not unique to our country but it is crucial to overcome them if we want to be as good as we look in our Constitution

‘A Still Life’ goes to root of the connection of...

An homage to selected dying trees, ‘A Still Life’ provides viewers with an opportunity to consider a moment of connection between humans, trees and the natural environment

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…