70% of Thais support methamphetamine threshold for legal action
70% of Thais support methamphetamine threshold for legal actionLegacy

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry revealed that 70% of Thai citizens agree with the regulation of having a minimum threshold of one methamphetamine pill for legal proceedings, while 30% prefer zero tolerance. The Ministry insists the threshold is necessary for effective law enforcement.

Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsuthin chaired the opening ceremony of the new Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Centre in Udon Thani today.

Numerous dignitaries attended the event, including Deputy Minister of Transport Manoporn Charoensri, Secretary to the Public Health Minister Kittikorn Lohsunthorn, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Phongsathorn Pokpermdee, and Director-General of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin. Other attendees included government officials and members of parliament from various provinces.

Somsak highlighted the significant turnout of MPs from different regions, especially from the northeastern provinces, demonstrating their commitment to public health development. He emphasised the Ministry’s dedication to addressing drug addiction, pledging full support for drug rehabilitation efforts. The Ministry categorises drug addicts into four groups: green, yellow, orange, and red, with the orange and red groups requiring hospitalisation. Currently, fewer than 20,000 individuals fall into these severe categories.

The Public Health Ministry plans to streamline the rehabilitation process, addressing issues where courts have ordered probation without mandating treatment. Discussions with the Ministry of Justice aim to resolve this.

“We reduced the threshold for methamphetamine possession from five pills to one to align with legal requirements. This change addresses issues where trace amounts of drugs were found in inconspicuous places, complicating legal proceedings. Although possessing even one pill will initiate an investigation into its source, users can opt for voluntary rehabilitation to aid in confiscating dealer assets. Essentially, one user implies the existence of one dealer.”

New Traditional Medicine Centre

Somsak also discussed the inauguration of the new Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Centre in Udon Thani. This initiative is part of the Ministry’s 5+5 policy, focusing on elevating traditional Thai medicine standards and herbal product quality, integral to their health economy strategy. The hospital offers services like medical cannabis clinics and specialised treatments, having treated over 50,000 patients with conditions such as insomnia, chronic pain, and paralysis.

The centre also features a traditional Thai massage therapy clinic and a community-based drug treatment programme, CBTx, which has treated 215 individuals so far, reported KhaoSod.

“The demand for high-standard Thai traditional and alternative medicine services is growing. We must expand these services across all health zones. I am pleased with the establishment of this centre in Health Zone 8, covering seven provinces in the northeast. I extend my gratitude to all involved parties. This facility will greatly benefit the people of Udon Thani and surrounding areas.”

The new centre represents a significant step in providing alternative healthcare options, ensuring accessible and quality traditional medicine services for the local community.

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Author: Nattapong Westwood