Police plan new approach to drug problems in South Pattaya

South Pattaya meeting, photo by Pattaya Mail.

Pattaya Police are planning a new approach to drug problems in one neighbourhood of the city. Police will push for rehabilitation over arreststoo deal with drug issues in the Thappraya community in South Pattaya. The community surrounds the Bali Hai flyover, under which many homeless people and drug users have encamped.

These residents were invited to a meeting with local leaders, Pattaya Mail reported on Friday. Police said that residents could volunteer to join a drug rehabilitation programme.

Police will also randomly check those living on the streets. If people are found to be using drugs, then instead of arresting people, police will help offer them the chance to enrol in the programme.

Local leaders say this plan will help to build a sustainable community.

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Police Lieutenant Colonel Thongin Panyanam said, however, that if drug users don’t get clean, they will be arrested if found using drugs again. Dealers, on the other hand, will face harsher punishment.

Pattaya police aren’t the only Thai police experimenting with this new approach to drugs. In June, the deputy inspector general of the Royal Thai Police said there was a nationwide shift in the country to get drug users treatment instead of jail time.

That month, police in Phuket’s town of Karon planned to focus on a particular area of the town for its community anti-drug campaign. Officers would visit every household in Baan Khok Chang to prepare to draft a Memorandum of Understanding on drug testing.

The director of the Karon Health Promoting Hospital said that after addicts had voluntarily entered the treatment process, health officials will design their health plan “according to the severity of their condition.”

Will this new approach to drug abuse work? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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