THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Phuket Opinion: On the right track

PHUKET: The recent announcement that the government will allow hemp to be grown in six northern provinces is another welcome sign of fledgling drug law reform in the Kingdom.

opiniondrugscrimepoliceculture
By The Phuket News

Sunday 8 January 2017, 09:00AM


Police display the 600kg of seized marijuana at their Chumphon headquarters last month. Photo: Amnart Thongdee / Bangkok Post

Police display the 600kg of seized marijuana at their Chumphon headquarters last month. Photo: Amnart Thongdee / Bangkok Post

The Bangkok Post reported that Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Secretary-General Sirinya Sitdhichai said the proposal was “part of a policy to relax the laws on narcotics so that three types of plants and methamphetamine can be used for medical purposes”.

Furthermore, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya recently said the government planned to take into account the “public health dimension” in its effort to curb the use of ya bah (methamphetamine).

This change of tact in Thailand’s previously hard-line, zero-tolerance approach to illicit drugs comes on the back of growing international recognition of the failure of the “war on drugs” approach that many countries, strongly influenced by US policy-makers, have taken to tackle the drug market.

An ever-growing mountain of evidence suggests that treating drug use as a criminal problem does nothing to curb drug use, it merely turns drug users into criminals, filling jail systems with non-violent prisoners convicted of minor drug offences. In 2015 in Thailand, of the prison population of 325,361 inmates, 230,074 (70.7%) were imprisoned on drug-related offences.

New Paths Retreat

Consider the cost to the country of incarcerating this many people and imagine if the same amount of money was spent on harm reduction, drug education and addiction treatment. De-criminalising drug use is an important step in removing its social stigma and making it easier for drug users to access treatment.

The full legalisation of soft drugs such as marijuana and kratom, which have been used for centuries with low levels of negative health-effects, would combat the drug issue in two ways. Firstly, it frees up government resources to focus improving public health outcomes for drug users and secondly it can be a significant source of tax revenue with which to fund such harm reduction measures.

It is refreshing to see major government figures such as ONCB Sec-Gen Sirinya and Justice Minister Paiboon championing these reforms. From a purely scientific point of view, changes in policy like these are a no-brainer, but they continue to be politically costly for those who espouse them. Let’s hope that these initiatives continue to gather momentum and result in meaningful drug law reforms that reduce the negative social effects of drug addiction.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Mai Khao beach declared ‘not safe’ after Chinese tourist in coma post-rescue

Wow...what a declaration for a beach holiday destination...that the beach is unsafe. That is why pe...(Read More)


GoAir to launch India’s first direct Phuket flights

Well, Phuket has it's yearly Vegetarian festival, with body punctures and all. Vegetarian food a...(Read More)


Mai Khao beach declared ‘not safe’ after Chinese tourist in coma post-rescue

Are there any thai Phuket governor, vice-governor, or other government Officials daring to say that ...(Read More)


GoAir to launch India’s first direct Phuket flights

As long as the 36% not come all at the same time it should be no problem to cater for them....(Read More)


Amid ‘overtourism’ scourge, global survey questions happiness of residents in major tourism destinations

The article doesn't put Phuket in a row with Barcelona ,Brasilia etc.It's about "Unesco...(Read More)


Royal Thai Navy leads marine rescue exercise in Phuket

Tourist safety starts with prevention, that 'safes' a lot of rescues. Good prevention befor...(Read More)


Govt to splash B151mn to prevent Phuket road flooding

Thai have a low profile commission system, right? Actually to govern well, you do not do important t...(Read More)


Major water shutoff to hit from Phuket Town to Rawai

Nothing wrong with the pipe lay out system. A new "mains "supply pipe will installed.Actua...(Read More)


Govt to splash B151mn to prevent Phuket road flooding

The governor seems to be trying hard to ink a lot of big budget deals just before his leaving Phuket...(Read More)


Traffic safety raises concerns in Phuket light-rail plans

Let's hope the Chalong Underpass is finished before light rail station construction there starts...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018