Cambodian authorities on Tuesday torched nearly three tons of an herb used to produce “herbal ecstasy” as part of a campaign to wipe out designer drugs recently uncovered in the country.
The bonfire destroyed ephedra, used to make “herbal ecstasy” pills that have been blamed for deaths in the United States and elsewhere, as well as another one ton of the chemical thionyl chloride, which is used to make methamphetamine. “Herbal ecstasy” typically refers to a combination of stimulants _ often including ephedra.
The ephedra was seized in raids earlier this year in eastern and southern Cambodia, said Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, who chairs the National Committee for Combating Drugs.
Officials at the ceremony, which included Australian drug experts, said the ephedra herbs were not grown in Cambodia but had been trafficked from China.
Authorities seized the thionyl chloride during a raid on a laboratory on an isolated farm west of Phnom Penh in April. It was Cambodia’s first discovery of a laboratory producing synthetic drugs.