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Rethink ‘War on Drugs’, say Phuket pollsters

PHUKET: Nearly half the respondents to an online poll by The Phuket News have called for the government to rethink its “War on Drugs”, while more than 40 per cent called for police to target only “big fish” dealers.

police, drugs, death, patong, military, tourism,


The Phuket News

Monday 26 October 2015, 12:39PM


Meih Luis, 21, and Zharn Nioh, 29, were arrested and their two cooked kratom leaves and pot were seized as evidence. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub
Meih Luis, 21, and Zharn Nioh, 29, were arrested and their two cooked kratom leaves and pot were seized as evidence. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Nary a week goes by without The Phuket News reporting drugs busts; some large, others small. But it is the personal possession arrests that elicit the most vociferous comments from readers, often questioning why police chose to grandstand taking less than a gramme of any illegal substance off the streets.

Arrests targeting token amounts of kratom, a locally indigenous plant that acts as a mild stimulant when ingested, often provoke the most enquiring comments. To this, The Phuket News launched its poll, asking readers: “Which of the following views on the current drug-enforcement policy on kratom best describes you?”

A tell-tale 48% of respondents voted plainly: “Thailand should consider ending its war on drugs completely, and instead reap the benefits from regulation and taxation.”

Adding to that cause were 44% of respondents who voted: “Some drugs are bad, other drugs like kratom are less so. Police should focus on busting major dealers instead of mules and small-time users.”

In support of the police’s efforts to eradicate drugs, only 8% of respondents voted: “All drugs are bad, and kratom is no exception. Police should continue to crack down on users, mules and dealers.”

Clearly indicating that the current “War on Drugs” policy is an issue that all members of the public have an opinion on, not a single vote was cast saying: “I have no opinion on this and/or don’t know enough about illegal drugs in Thailand.”

Of note, the poll was launched before the lethal arrest attempt that killed two young men in Thalang earlier this month. The botched arrest, which police say netted 50 ya bah (methamphetamine) pills and one kilogramme of krathom, sparked the Thalang Police Station riot, Phuket’s worst street violence in decades, with scores of residents laying siege to Thalang Police Station. (See story here.)

Police later admitted that posthumous blood tests on the two victims revealed that neither suspect could be physically proven to have taken drugs, but maintained that the drugs ‘seized” were not “planted” on the suspects at the scene of the attempted arrest. (See story here.)

 

For the full poll results, click here.

 

 

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Christy Sweet | 30 October 2015 - 07:57:29

The USA is changing, state by state. Colorado, for instance had to hold a referendum on what to do with all the extra monies it now reaps from taxed marijuana sales. It has said NO to corporatized prisons profiting off the incarceration of citizens. And let's not forget the multi-billion dollar alcohol industry which is a compound as damaging and dangerous as any opiate. Surely it is an indicator of a mature, thriving nation that stops criminalizing use of plants for relaxation.

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Foot | 26 October 2015 - 20:29:58

The article's comment "“Thailand should consider ending its war on drugs completely, and instead reap the benefits from regulation and taxation...” is spot on accurate.  The U.S. and the world should cease this senseless  "war".
It breeds and finances crime, increases incarceration cost astronomically, and seres no useful purpose.
Society would be much better offer if some of the new found tax revenue be used to treat those with severe drug dependencies. 

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