Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board has reported that heroin is making a comeback in Thailand with teenagers, who are unaware of the dangers. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) reports rising numbers of teenagers aged between 15-18 admitted to rehabilitation programs for heroin addiction.
In 2017, over 3,700 teenagers attended rehab for heroin addiction. However, that number increased to 3,980 teenagers in 2019. Meanwhile, in the first eight months of this year the number of teenager heroin addicts has already surpassed 2,900. Most of whom are new addicts the Narcotics Control Board reports.
An especially pressing concern is that 1 in 3 heroin addicts nationwide are teenagers.
Most heroin abuse cases were observed in Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Narathiwat, Chiang Mai and Kanchanaburi, said Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary-general of the ONCB. Every young person who entered the rehabilitation process said they did not realize they had taken heroin.
Teenagers told heroin wasn’t harmful
The young users claimed they were under the impression the substance was not harmful to their health as they thought it was some kind of powder that simply left them in a trance after use, he added.
“But pure heroin is expensive and it is typically used by adults more than young people due to its steep price,” he said.
“Most young people cannot afford to buy heroin. However, physical checks of addicted youths found heroin in their blood,” he said.
Mr Niyom said heroin addiction is making a comeback and attracting more young users. However, the number of heroin addicts and those being treated for heroin addiction is still low. Above all when compared with cases of methamphetamine abuse.
He said heroin is being formulated to make it cheaper and more widely available. It is also commonly found mixed with other narcotic substances.
Thailand’s golden triangle reigns supreme
Seizures of heroin from the Golden Triangle, one of the world’s largest production areas along the Myanmar-Laos-Thai border, have been rising every year, according to Narcotics Control Board
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which says the Golden Triangle remains the world’s largest heroin producing zone. Where the drug is smuggled into Thailand through porous borders before being distributed domestically and globally.
According to the ONCB’s anti-drug operation centre, 376 kilograms of heroin was confiscated in the fiscal year 2017. However that number jumped to 941 kilograms in 2019.
Drug producers use China, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand as a base to transport shipments to other countries. The drugs are sold along the way which has caused a rise in Heroin use in Thailand.