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.