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Overhaul of Thai justice system required to deal with prison overcrowding

May Taylor

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Overhaul of Thai justice system required to deal with prison overcrowding | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Scmp.com

There are nearly 400,000 people behind bars in Thailand. 70% of the men in prison are there for drug-related offences. In the case of women, it’s 87%.

Thailand has the highest number of prisoners in ASEAN, the sixth highest in the world.

The notorious overcrowding for which the prisons are known is so bad that an inmate does not even have a metre of space in which to lie down.

The country’s prison system has space for 120,000 inmates, but is home to more than 300,000.

This was the subject being discussed in Bangkok yesterday, at a joint seminar between the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), who were considering other options for those with jail terms of less than 5 years.

TIJ director Kittipong Kittayarak blames the country’s strict drug laws, which currently mean that anyone found to have any connection to methamphetamines will be given a prison term.

He says that in 2000 and 2001, those with drug convictions were moved to drug rehabilitation centres, reducing the number of prison inmates from 240,000 to 160,000. But lack of a properly structured rehabilitation programme and failure to prioritise a public health policy to tackle the problem means it’s back.

Kittipong says a justice system that prioritised rehabilitation over retaliation would have better results in the long-term. He believes the system should enable wrongdoers to see the error of their ways and feel remorse, while providing victims with compensation, as happens with road traffic accidents.

Kittipong also suggests drug abusers and small-time dealers be separated from major drug traffickers in line with a better public health policy.

Moreover, he said, police and public prosecutors should find a better method of settling cases out of court and consider other methods such as electronic monitoring devices with limited freedom, probation or social services for petty criminals.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thailand

Thailand’s Department for Disease Control issues Chikungunya warning

May Taylor

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Thailand’s Department for Disease Control issues Chikungunya warning | The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.wikipedia.com

Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai from the Department of Disease Control says over 10 people in central Thailand have contracted chikungunya since July, and urges people to take precautions, saying those with high fever and joint pain should seek medical advice without delay.

In total, since the beginning of the year, 7,481 people have been treated for chikungunya, with all patients surviving. The majority were in the 25 to 34 age bracket, followed by 35 – 44 and 15 – 24.

The provinces with the highest number of chikungunya patients are Pattani, Ranong, Tak, Phuket and Songkhla.

Officials were able to prevent the mosquito spread virus from developing to other areas but Dr Suwannachai says people should also make efforts to get rid of any potential breeding grounds for mosquitos.

This includes clearing rubbish away from the home, covering all food and water containers, and removing waste water or any stagnant water from around the home.

Chikungunya symptoms include high fever and rash and may also include joint pain lasting between one and two weeks. The virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can affect people of all ages.

SOURCE: The Chiang Rai Times

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Significant developments in cannabis farming in Thailand

May Taylor

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Significant developments in cannabis farming in Thailand | The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.growbarato.net

In what’s thought to be the first-ever industrial scale manufacturing facility for medical cannabis within the Asean Region, Maejo University in Chiang Mai has planted 12,000 cannabis sprouts – the largest lot in the country.

It’s hoped the result will eventually be 1 million bottles, each containing 5ml of cannabis oil, by February.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Public Health attended a planting ceremony yesterday, along with the university’s executive team, the provincial government, and local administrative organisations.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul planted the first sprout, saying recent changes in the law would allow families to grow their own plants at home.

“These are historic first steps on the path towards allowing people to grow six cannabis trees in their homes. The university will be a centre where ordinary people can learn how to plant and grow good quality cannabis. Cannabis is not an issue of politics, it is a product that can benefit people’s health. In the near future, families will be able to plant it in their back gardens like any other herb.”

In June, Maejo University signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Medical Service and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) concerning the development of cannabis plantations, including local strain development for medical use. Following that, the narcotic board granted the university a plantation licence in September.

It’s understood the planting session should produce 2.4 tons of dried cannabis flowers by February, which will be forwarded to the GPO for the production of 5,000 litres of cannabis oil. This will be given to doctors who can prescribe it to qualifying patients.

The Thai Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve cannabis oil for prescription was met with cautious optimism by medical practitioners.

Medicinal use began on August 20 and the Chief of the Deparment of Medical Service, Somsak Akasin says initial results appear to indicate that cancer patients enjoy a better quality of life due to the cannabis oil mitigating the effects of chemotherapy.

He adds that half of children with epilepsy who have been treated with the drug have responded well.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Overturned truck was carrying 450 kilos of crystal meth

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Overturned truck was carrying 450 kilos of crystal meth | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Police have seized about 450 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), with a street valued around 225 million baht – a major shipment of the illicit drug. The seizure followed a ten-wheel truck ending up on its side after crashing into a traffic island in Phetchaburi province on Friday night.

The truck driver, 45 year old Adinan Laeha, and his 18 year old son, Wilayan, both from the southern province of Narathiwat, ended up with minor injuries in the overturn but are now being questioned by police over the illicit payload found in the truck.

The truck crashed on the main north-south Phetkasem highway near an underpass at about 8.30pm in Phetchaburi’s Muang district.

As the truck turned over, some of its cargo of illicit drugs crashed out onto the road. The first emergency services to arrive on the scene found several suspicious-looking packages wrapped in plastic spilled on the road and alerted police. Police checked some of the packages and found they contained crystal methamphetamine, and there was more inside the truck.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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