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Phuket News: Mixed feelings on legalising krathom

BANGKOK: A majority of people surveyed in Bangkok believe the legalisation of krathom (Mitragyna speciosa) would not reduce the number of methamphetamine abusers, according to a study by the Research Centre at Bangkok University, or Bangkok Poll.


Bangkok Post

Wednesday 11 September 2013, 05:37PM


Krathom leaves. Photo: Sontanaporn Inchan
Krathom leaves. Photo: Sontanaporn Inchan

The opinion survey on "Drugs and the Legalisation of Krathom" involved 1,171 respondents over 18 years of age in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces.

The pollster said 70.5 per cent of respondents said they still see krathom as an illegal drug, but the other 29.5 per cent think differently. And 46.3 per cent said they supported the idea of using krathom leaves for only medicinal purposes, but 27.5 per cent were against the idea, and 14.6 per cent believed that people should be allowed to use krathom in all cases, while 11.6 per cent were undecided.

When asked whether or not the government's plan to take krathom off the narcotics list would reduce the number of methamphetamine users, 61.1 per cent said no. Only 19.0 per cent agreed with the plan. The others were undecided.

The pollster said 60.2 per cent said they did not believe that legalising krathom would help solve the continuing violence in Thailand's three southernmost border provinces, but 12.6 per cent disagreed. Krathom is common in the deep South and arrests for possession and use, often in a cocktail, are frequent in the region.

If legalised, 49.2 per cent said growing krathom trees must strictly be for medical purposes. 38.7 per cent said krathom growers must have a permit from the government and the supply must be closely regulated. 5.1 per cent said krathom trees should be freely grown anywhere in the country.

Bangkok Poll said 52.2 per cent of respondents said they were that krathom leaves would be misused if they were removed from the restricted narcotics list. However, almost as many, 47.8 per cent, said they would not be worried because they see it as a herbal medicine.

And while 45.6 per cent said using krathom leaves would likely lead users to other illegal drugs, 32.5 per cent disagreed and 21.9 per cent were not sure.

Read the original story here. 

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