Regarding Illegal Drugs in Cambodia

Please note that this article serves as general cautionary advice regarding recreational drug use to those visiting Cambodia. GoSihanoukville.com will not provide guidance on how to procure illegal drugs now or in the future. We merely aim to provide this cautionary article in order to inform our visitors of potential risks they may be exposed to while visiting Cambodia. Trust us - don't bother looking for it - it will inevitably find you.

The Wild West of Recreational Drug Use

Simply put, Cambodia has a very lax approach to drug enforcement. While technically illegal, the entire gamut of illegal and prescription drugs is readily available in Sihanoukville and throughout Cambodia.

GoSihanoukville.com maintains an objective stance toward recreational drug use, and we believe that anyone traveling to a far corner of the world has enough sense and personal responsibility to be aware of the risks involved regarding drugs, and that they would exercise the same prudence abroad as they would at home. Many drugs that find their way to the streets of London or Los Angeles have origins in Asia - Southeast Asia in particular. It should never be assumed that the level of potency (or lack thereof) of certain drugs used back home is the same here. It’s worth noting that once a drug has made its way to Europe or America, it’s been cut a dozen times (usually with stuff you wouldn't want entering your body) and carries a fraction of its original potency.

Peddlers all about

You will be approached one time or another by peddlers (usually tuk-tuk and motorbike taxi drivers) selling anything from marijuana to opium. The laws remain so unenforced that pushers have no qualms about approaching tourists in hope of closing a sale. If you’re not interested, say so at the onset and don’t be equivocal and indecisive. If you show the slightest interest or inquire about the cost, you will pique their interest, and their tactics will become more aggressive. This is of course true for any hawker, be it someone selling sunglasses, freshly-caught seafood on the beach, or "good boom-boom". If you show no interest, they will move on to the next person. They know as well as anyone that drugs sell themselves, and if people are interested, they will buy.

If you heed any advice on this page, heed this: do NOT buy drugs from tuk-tuk or motorbike taxi drivers. They are out to make money, NOT because they want to see you have a good time. It's safe to assume that any drugs bought from them are low-quality and cut with possibly harmful substances.

Marijuana

Marijuana is the most readily available drug around, and its presence is ubiquitous, as made evident by the many “Happy Herb” joints (no pun intended) around the country. Marijuana, while technically illegal, exists in a gray area - where local authorities simply have better things to do than enforce a law which their country was compelled to adopt at the behest of the United States’ DEA. People smoke it freely on the beaches and in “happy” establishments around town, and for the time being, they seem to peacefully coexist with the law. Smoking brashly without regards to others in public places can draw attention from the police, and you could be fined (off the books, of course), which regardless of the amount can put a damper on any evening out. Smoking marijuana in your room, if staying at a high-end hotel may get you removed from the hotel or worse - may earn you a visit from the police. Lower-end guesthouses normally have a more laid-back approach than the more up-market hotels. GoSihanoukville.com neither condones nor condemns the use of marijuana in Cambodia - we feel that responsible travelers can make their own decisions regarding its use, especially since the herb is gaining support in the west as a legitimate medical treatment and is becoming decriminalized in many jurisdictions.

Hard Drugs

More seriously, hard drugs such as opiates, ketamine (horse tranquilizer), ecstasy, MDMA, LSD, cocaine and amphetamines are also available here, and are subject to more scrutiny than marijuana. GoSihanoukville.com cannot stress enough the importance of prudence regarding drugs such as these. It’s important to remember that the closest western-standard medical care is a five-hour drive over the Thai border in Trat, noting the border is closed from 10PM until 8AM. An overdose not rectified until such time as one can make it to the Thai border, cross it, and rush to the hospital in Trat, can certainly come to a tragic end. Provided you make it to the hospital in time, you must remember that you are in Thailand - which will almost certainly carry serious legal ramifications once you are treated. Thailand has a very draconian attitude towards drugs of all kinds (hospitals are even very reluctant to give morphine to post-operative patients), and the police there are notoriously corrupt; meaning that jail or a much lighter bank account could possibly await you regardless of whether you bought and ingested the narcotics in Thailand or elsewhere.

A Special Warning on Cocaine

Generally, cocaine is not produced in this part of the world, and what is may more than likely be very expensive, and low quality (cut with other substances). The Golden Triangle (the convergence of Burma, Thailand and Laos) is one of the top opiate producing areas of the world, and the flow of heroin in the region is heavy, and much cheaper than back in the west. That being said, it's important to note that you may be sold heroin instead of cocaine, as it's much cheaper and readily available - and a less-than-reputable tuk-tuk dealer won't hesitate to sell you the cheaper heroin. We've all seen Pulp Fiction, so you know what happens when you snort herion. Be very cautious!

Prescription Drugs

Lastly, performance-enhancing drugs (such as Viagra and Kamagra), Diazepam (known in the US under the brand name Valium) and Xanax are obtainable in virtually every drugstore (chemist) in town, without need for a prescription. Before taking any of these pharmaceuticals, it’s always a good idea to read up on them in order to discover what, if any side-effects could occur. These are prescription drugs for a reason.

In closing, all we can recommend is that you exercise caution when dealing with drugs in Cambodia. Just because you are on holiday does not mean you can leave your sensibilities at home. If you’d be reluctant to try something at home, you should not try it here. The important thing is to stay safe while here and enjoy your time with us, and not to do anything you wouldn't back home. The creative staff at GoSihanoukville.com does enjoy partying as much as everyone else (note that we include a "Happy" section in our dining guide), so we fully understand the need to let loose and have a good time once in a while. We encourage everyone to stay safe and have fun!

Above all, remember you are a guest in another country - it's always good advice to obey the law... Cambodian jails are not a place you want to spend your time!

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