Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health is moving forward with a new drug law that would make those who carry more than one pill of methamphetamine a dealer of illegal narcotics.
According to Bangkok Post, the controversial law comes after Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that the ministry would revise the law to deal with the country’s serious methamphetamine problem.
Currently, the law states that those who are found with more than 15 meth pills would be considered a dealer. Those who have 15 or fewer pills in their possession would be regarded as having them for personal use and are subject to rehabilitation.
Anutin says the new law is the result of an investigation by the ministry’s committee, which concluded that tougher measures were needed to combat the drug problem in the country.
“The committee will amend the ministerial regulation and send it to me for my signature. The ministry will later send it to the government for official acknowledgement. The new law will take effect after it is announced in the Royal Gazette.”
Anutin has put the law in the police’s hands by saying that it will be up to them to enforce the law. He says the police will be tasked with deciding whether suspects should be treated as drug users or drug dealers based on evidence and their discretion.
He went on to say that the committee would look into how to provide more effective treatment for drug addicts as their numbers will likely grow quickly once the law takes effect.
The Department of Mental Health says that the number of addicts is rising in the country, thanks to the prices of speed pills plummeting. It also says that currently 800,000 patients are registered as methamphetamine addicts receiving treatment. But, it says one-third have shockingly dropped out of the programme.
The ministry is also planning to increase drug rehabilitation units in government hospitals. It also is planning to increase the number of psychiatrists from 50 to 800 a year over the next five years.
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