The reports by the United Nations and individual countries are clear: Illicit drugs present clear and present dangers to people throughout our region, and in some cases actually present a threat of government takeover. In survey after survey, Thais and their neighbours put drug traffickers and drug abuse at or near the top of their immediate concerns. In the deep South, drugs are universally considered as one of the main motivations for violence and terrorism.
The concern of citizens, however, seems to evaporate near the top of the chain. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has never lent her influence either to efforts to stop drug traffickers or to help victims of drug abuse. Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung last week recommended the instant death penalty for drug peddlers _ a suggestion as unhelpful as it was unrealistic. And then there are the international efforts against drugs.
Last week at a Nay Pyi Taw hotel, Myanmar convened yet another meeting of regional police officials and the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Delegates spent three days lamenting what every one of their citizens already knew: Drug trafficking is increasing, and the drug cartels are growing in size and influence.
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