Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin launched a new project to decrease the suffering caused by illicit substances in front of ministries, state agencies, and public sector officials at the Bitec Exhibition Hall in Bangkok.
“The operation plan was written under the government’s emergency policy on narcotics control, as the situation remains a concern,” said Mr Srettha during his speech.
He said that the crackdown was prompted in part by a recent rash of high-profile drug-related criminal conduct, such as border interceptions, charges of coordination between dealers and high-level government officials, and the recent cremation of a record 340 tonnes of seized cocaine.
He also stated that because the government had included drug suppression as part of its national strategy, it would also be included in the new blueprint.
The prime minister also emphasized the importance of preventing illegal substances from entering the country through the northern border and in provinces such as Tak, Kanchanaburi, and Ranong.
There will also be enhanced attempts to reduce drug use in Bangkok and the Deep South, which are frequently among the last destinations for drugs trafficked into the country from the north.
Mr Srettha also expressed a desire to see persons suffering from mental illness and other major health problems as a result of their addiction undergo rehabilitation programs, particularly in the 30 provinces with particularly high rates of drug consumption.
The plan also includes provisions for labelling drug addicts as patients, allowing treatment to become a priority, particularly in the hardest-hit provinces. This will be weighed against the requirement for law enforcement.
Mr Srettha also presented his idea of “five-dimensional” cooperation with governors, police commanders, doctors, health coordinators, and province heads, all of whom will play vital roles in implementing the government’s plan.
To assure the effectiveness of these measures, he stated that a new set of key performance metrics would be utilized to assess the efficacy of domestic drug suppression over the following four years.
Drug command centres to be set up in North and Northeast Thailand
According to government spokeswoman Chai Wacharonke, the government intends to construct narcotic drug command centers in three provinces in the North and Northeast.
According to him, the proposal is in line with the present government’s decision to implement more measures to promote total drug suppression, with results expected within a year.
According to Mr Chai, command centers would be constructed in 11 districts in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, as well as four districts in Nakhon Phanom, to boost efficiency in terms of cooperation and intelligence sharing among agencies involved in the drug war.
The three provinces were chosen because they are the principal routes utilized by drug trafficking organizations to deliver methamphetamine and other illegal narcotics.
According to a Ministry of Justice research, previous to 2022, at least 80% of seized narcotics, largely produced around the Myanmar-Thailand-Laos border, or the so-called Golden Triangle, originated in the northern provinces.
As repression efforts in those areas became more stringent, drug dealers relocated an estimated 45% of their imports to the northeastern region.
The route’s enforcement measures have resulted in an increase in narcotics seizures. According to the study, 500 million tablets have been confiscated this year, compared to roughly 70 million in 2003.
According to Mr Chai, the Royal Thai Police believe that at least 600,000 people in the country are hooked to illegal narcotics, with 30,000 suffering from mental illnesses as a result of their addiction.
The revelation of the new command centers followed the arrest of three members of a narcotics gang in Chiang Mai’s Muang district a day earlier, with 5 million pills recovered.