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Phuket offers new twist in War on Drugs

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The Koh Kaew Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) has launched a project that may be a precursor to a shift in strategy in the War on Drugs in Phuket.

The organization is inviting drug users who wish to turn their lives around to join a rehabilitation camp under the “One Local Administration Organization, One Drug Rehabilitation Camp” project.

As part of the scheme Phuket City Police, government officials and community leaders on April 26 set up a checkpoint near the entrance of Koh Kaew Soi 33, near to the Isuzu showroom on Thepkrasattri Road.

The project is a collaborative effort by the Koh Kaew OrBorTor and the Interior Ministry’s Department of Local Administration and Department of Provincial Administration.

“We are working together with subdistrict headmen, village headmen, police and provincial public health officers to search for drug users. Those who admit to taking drugs will not have charges brought against them, but will have to attend a drug rehabilitation camp at Baan Sapam School,” said Suwat Bubpapo, Muang District Chief Administrative Officer (Palad).

It is not just the checkpoint on Thepkrasattri Road that drug users will have to be wary of. Police officers will set up checkpoints in different areas of Koh Kaew, where they will randomly select people to undergo urine tests.

Capt Rattaket Munmuang, Crime Suppression Inspector of Phuket City Police, said, “When we stop someone we will explain the project to them and ask for their cooperation in checking their urine for traces of illicit drugs. It is sometimes easy to find many drug users in the same area just from stopping one person, as they will often point out that there are more in the vicinity. In this way we can sometimes net more than 10 users in one area,” he said.

Those who test positive for drugs will be offered the chance to join the project and attend the camp.

“If a urine sample turns purple, police will question that person. If they admit to taking drugs, we will give them the opportunity to avoid criminal charges by voluntarily attending the camp,” said Capt Rattaket.

“However, if they deny drug use, we will send the urine sample for further tests to determine which drug the sample contains. If the test results indicate that they have taken an illegal drug, the police will issue an arrest warrant and press charges against them,” he added.

Palad Suwat explained that Koh Kaew was the first subdistrict in Phuket to run this kind of project.

“We went around to all villages of Koh Kaew and so far we have identified more than 40 drug users. Most of them are either in the working-age group or students,” said Palad Suwat.

“We inform drug users attending the camp on what to bring and how to prepare for the camp. They are told that they will have to be at the camp for the entire nine days,” he said.

“My main goal is to reduce the number of drug users in Koh Kaew. I also hope they gain a better understanding of drugs and how damaging they can be. After the camp, we will check on them from time to time to make sure they are not going back to using drugs again,” said Palad Suwat.

“After returning home, they will be subjected to four randomly timed drug tests. We will also offer any additional help they need to completely quit using drugs,” he added.

“We aim to find at least 80 drug users to send to the camp. So far we have 48 confirmed participants, plus another 10 suspects we expect to round up shortly,” he concluded.

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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