Monday, June 28, 2010

Thailand’s Chronic Drug Problem

It was encouraging to see nearly six tons of illicit drugs go up in smoke late last week in Ayutthaya. But it is sobering to realize what was really accomplished on the International Day Against Drug Abuse, and what is at stake. Despite optimistic statements, as the drugs disappeared more just like them were on sale nearby.

One of the most gruesome drug-related crimes in recent months took place last week, almost within walking distance of the anti-drug ceremony. Two drug gangs clashed on the outskirts of Ayutthaya town, with two men killed.

There are plenty more where those came from. Trying to grasp the enormity of the trade is almost impossible.

Yet only about 10 percent of drugs on the street in Thailand are destroyed. Over the past decade, the number of teenagers abusing drugs had fallen, due to a combination of better education and more parental concern.

But in the past few years, anti-drug campaigns have weakened and the trend is being reversed.

The war on drugs” has come full circle. Once again, authorities focus almost entirely on drug suppliers . The demand side of drugs ensures that the problems with illegal substances will continue.  

Bangkok Post Editorial, June 28

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