FRIDAY, February 23, 2024

Thailand ramps up drugs war as new weapons fail to halt meth flood

Thailand ramps up drugs war as new weapons fail to halt meth flood

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has stepped up the crackdown on drug trafficking after criticism of his government’s latest move to halt the country’s flood of methamphetamine pills.

Srettha met with national police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol on Sunday and ordered an escalation of efforts, pointing out that fighting drugs was still a national agenda.

The PM said on Monday that despite a fourfold increase in drug arrests recently, the street price of narcotics had not risen.

“This means there are still many narcotics available so the suppression must continue,” he said.

Srettha ordered the latest crackdown after criticism that the Public Health Ministry’s push to tighten the law against dealers was too lenient. The ministry has insisted that anyone found with more than five meth pills must be charged as a dealer, reducing the limit from 10 meth pills. Those found with five or fewer pills will be designated as users and offered drug rehab rather than jail.

The new rule has sparked debate on social media, with many complaining it will allow drug pushers to disguise themselves as users.

“Let the government consider this issue again. The government attaches importance to the issue. No one should possess even a single meth pill, let alone five,” Srettha said.

Asked whether the new anti-drugs push included any special operations, the PM said his government would impose new measures and also review rules on drug possession. Efforts would also be ramped up to curb the influx of drugs along the borders and rehabilitate drug abusers so they could return to society, he added.

The government would also speed up incineration of seized drugs to ensure they are not sold on by corrupt officials.

Srettha said he also discussed police welfare with Torsak.

He instructed the police chief to expand airport rest areas for immigration police whose work burdens had risen with increased foreign arrivals.

Torsak was also asked to improve police housing nationwide. Srettha said he planned to visit flats for police families to check on their living conditions.