11 July 2024

Public health, anti-narcotic officials and the police have reached a consensus that possessing more than five meth pills will constitute dealing in the drug, as the Thai government escalates the fight against the scourge of methamphetamine use.

Dr. Kittisak Aksornwong, acting on behalf of the deputy public health permanent secretary, said that officials will, however, also have to consider the behaviour of a suspect caught with more than five meth pills and whether they intended to sell.

The decision, which was reached at a meeting this week, will be forwarded to public health minister for consideration, followed by a public hearing and approval by the cabinet, before a new edict is promulgated.

Dr. Dusadee Juengsirakulwit, director of the mental health service division, explained that it had been scientifically proven that consuming more than five meth tablets a day will have impacts on the brain and neurological system of the consumer, leading to hallucinations which may pose a threat to the consumer and other people.

Pol Lt-Gen Sirisak Tantinawachai, commissioner of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, said that, although possessing no more than five meth pills will be regarded as possessing the drug for personal consumption, if it is discovered that the suspect was involved in selling it, they may face a charge of possessing the drug for trafficking.

Suspects who are caught with no more than five meth pills can opt for rehabilitation, but if they refuse, they will be prosecuted for drug possession, which carries a maximum prison term of one year.

Methamphetamine and crystal meth are mostly produced in territories in Myanmar controlled by minority war lords, such as the “Red Wa”, and are smuggled across the porous Thai-Myanmar border by armed men. Then, Thai trafficking gangs deliver them to dealers across the country.

Seizures of more than a million meth pills at a time by the police have become common.