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International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section (INL)

Since 1989, the United States has provided more than $48 million to support alternative development, community based treatment, law enforcement programs and the rule of law.

U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Alternative Development.  Laos ranks among the world’s biggest producers of illicit opium. Houaphan province has traditionally grown opium for consumption, sale, and for medicinal purposes. Many farmers earn their livelihood from the illegal sale of opium.  The Embassy supports projects that encourage at-risk farmers to cultivate alternative crops or raise livestock that can be sold on the local market. Under the project villagers are also educated on counter narcotics laws.

Community Based Treatment.  Outpatient drug treatment services help decrease the stigma associated with drug users and reduces overcrowding at government-run drug treatment centers. Recidivism rates are reduced due to the fact addicts remain at home with their families and receive the emotional support necessary to aid their recovery.  The Embassy currently supports outpatient services in two provinces by training drug treatment specialists on prevention and counseling.

Law Enforcement.  U.S. law enforcement programs in Laos support equipment purchases for Lao counter drug agencies and in-service training for the drug control police. Donated equipment assists Laos to protect its borders from the illegal transit of controlled substances and their chemical precursors. Interdicting the flow of narcotics and amphetamines in Laos helps to protect neighboring countries, other nations in the region, and even the U.S. The Embassy also assists Lao officials to participate in training programs at the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEA) in Bangkok and Roswell New Mexico, where officials can learn new techniques to enhance their crime-fighting skills.

Rule of Law. The Embassy supports the Lao government’s goal to become a rule of law state by 2020 through the UNDP project “Support to the Legal Sector Master Plan.” The U.S. contribution supports legal aid and the development of the case management system.