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Drug abuse in Phuket “on the rise’



Drug abuse in Phuket “on the rise’ | Thaiger

PHUKET: A two-day conference involving 60 officers with an interest in controlling drug abuse was told today that the number of narcotics cases in Phuket could rise dramatically this year. “There were about 1,500 cases last year. This year the number may be 2,000,” Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi told the conference. Concern is also growing about the increasing use in local entertainment venues of “yah E” – the drug known in the West as Ecstasy – and about tuna boats from China and Taiwan being used to smuggle drugs into provinces on the Andaman coastline. The Governor said that so far this year Phuket has had about 1,200 cases involving drugs. Most involved small amounts of “yah bah” (methamphetamine) varying from one to 10 pills, though one raid last month netted 600 pills. Songkram Khamtonwong, director of the Southern Office of the Narcotics Control Board, told the Gazette that ya E is being found increasingly in entertainment places. “I’ve heard that it is for sale at 800 baht a pill in some entertainment places in Phuket Town,” he said. In Phuket, marijuana was more of a problem among foreigners, as it did not appeal to locals, K. Songkhram said, noting that its usage was being decriminalized in some countries. He added, “Phuket is an island so it would be easy for tourists to bring in drugs by yacht.” Authorities are now looking out for tuna boats from Taiwan and China, which are suspected of smuggling drugs and doing deals involving other destinations while in international waters. He named the Southern provinces with sizeable drug problems as Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Surat Thani, Songkhla and Narathiwat, where populations are larger than Phuket’s. The Southern Narcotics Control Office organized the seminar at the ST Plaza Hotel on Sakdidet Rd, Phuket Town, for Phuket police, tambon officials and other officers. It will continue tomorrow.


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