THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET 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.

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET

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
Tour boats blamed for widespread reef damage

Again a environment disaster. And what a dramatic show of incompetent thai officials who not able to...(Read More)


Phuket has enough water, not a drought crisis: Governor

"Phuket has enough water, not a drought crisis: Governor" "“All local administrati...(Read More)


Rawai Municipality starts providing free emergency water

Still filling in the fresh water supply lake in Soi Namjai, Rawai !...(Read More)


Phuket has enough water, not a drought crisis: Governor

There is yes/no drought, but no drought crisis. Don't say 'crisis', otherwise tourists s...(Read More)


Navy launches operation ’Remove Seastead’

Wow,Yeah, 300 'Officials' on 1 photo. That is a hell of a coordination job for a Rear Admira...(Read More)


Navy launches operation ’Remove Seastead’

I'm wondering if Thailand has any right to touch this object, from what we are told it is in int...(Read More)


Police hunt for lifelong serial sex offender, rapist with mental problems at large in Phuket Town

Hmmm...how poorly can officials manage a mentally ill person that has proven himself a threat to soc...(Read More)


Mains water supply outage announced

"No water supply,no electricity,by temperatures around 37 degrees....."Silly,couldn't ...(Read More)


Navy launches operation ’Remove Seastead’

300 officials- must be one heck of a photo op!....(Read More)


Navy launches operation ’Remove Seastead’

This whole Seastead affair is a thai exaggerated, overblown, hysterical matter. Where in the world t...(Read More)