Drug reform Thailand: Harm reduction & decriminalisation

Drug reform Thailand: Harm reduction & decriminalisation

The Global Commission on Drug Policy has attracted several well known personalities in its campaign to end unsuccessful and deadly wars on drugs by world governments.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy has attracted several well known personalities in its campaign to end unsuccessful and deadly wars on drugs by world governments.

Thailand launch for annual report on drugs because of "late King's commitment to solving narcotics problems & current government's shift in drug policy."


Drug reform Thailand: Harm reduction & decriminalisation

King-oua Laohong

The Global Commission on Drug Policy has chosen Thailand as the venue to unveil its annual report on drugs thanks to the late King's commitment to solving narcotics problems and the current government's shift in drug policy  (read about the opium replacement policies first implemented in Thailand under the late King here, here , here & see video below).

Privy Council member Gen Paiboon Koomchaya made the opening address Wednesday at the launch of the commission's sixth annual report called "Advancing Drug Policy Reform: A New Approach to Decriminalisation" (get free copy of report here).

Gen Paiboon said Thailand has been chosen for its efforts to better address the drug problem.


General Paiboon, former Justice Minister and an advocate of drug policy change, said the current government's approach to the narcotics problem has gained wide recognition.

According to Gen Paiboon, the policy change was triggered by lack of success in the so-called "war on drugs" in the past.

"Thailand has encouraged Asean to draft a new 10-year strategy to better address the drug situation with a focus on how to live with drugs when we can't achieve a drug-free society," he said.

He also said the report reflects what the Thai government has been trying to do.


The report mainly calls for an end to capital punishment for all drug- related cases and an end to all penalties -- both civil and criminal -- for people who have drugs for personal use on the basis that millions of them pose no harm to others.

"Suppression, prevention and rehabilitation will remain, but we need to decriminalise drugs."

"We have introduced legal provisions that allow for appropriate punishment to be handed down," he told the forum.


According to Gen Paiboon, the country's drug policy has changed significantly but society may not have been made aware of it.

This includes ongoing processes for the legalisation of marijuana for use in certain industries and the decriminalisation of drugs, he said.

He said the decriminalisation of drugs is part of harm reduction efforts.

He said he believes society needs to be assured about how the new policy would be implemented to effectively address the drug situation.


Ruth Dreifuss, chairwoman of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, said outright prohibition of drugs has done little to reduce drug abuse.

During 2006-2013 the number of drug users rose by 20% while the number of drug users who died during detention was estimated at 200,000 annually, she said.

As a result, more and more countries are considering other steps to help drug users, she said.

She insisted it is necessary to refrain from incarcerating drug users (putting them in prison) because drug use is not a serious offence.


Justice permanent secretary Charnchao Chaiyanukij said Thailand's drug policy focuses on preventive rehabilitation.

This consists of making drug rehabilitation accessible to everyone, and implementation of alternatives to incarceration.

However, he said there is a lot to be done, especially raising public awareness about the need to decriminalise drugs.


"Most of the work we've done deals with reviews of drug-related laws and making a new comprehensive narcotics law."

"It is being examined by the Council of State," he said.

He said a crucial element of the proposed legislation is it lets the court use more discretion when ruling on narcotics - related cases.






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  • accessible: that can be reached, entered, used, seen, etc - ที่สามารถเข้าได้
  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • achieve: to succeed in doing something very good or difficult - บรรลุผลสำเร็จ
  • address: a formal speech - คำปราศรัย
  • address: to deal with a problem - จัดการปัญหา
  • advance (noun): progress or an instance of progress in science, technology, human knowledge etc - การพัฒนา, การก้าวหน้า
  • advocate: someone who strongly and publicly supports someone or something - ผู้สนับสนุน
  • allow: to let somebody/something do something; to let something happen or be done - อนุญาต, ยอมรับ
  • alternative: another choice - ทางเลือก, ตัวเลือก
  • annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
  • approach: a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something - การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
  • appropriate: (opposite: inappropriate) suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose - ที่เหมาะสม
  • as a result: it causes the following .... -
  • assured: made certain - ทำให้แน่ใจ
  • awareness: the state of knowing about something - การรับรู้, การทราบ
  • basis (noun): the idea or system that something is "based" on - พื้นฐาน,รากฐาน,หลักสำคัญ
  • capital punishment (noun): the punishment of putting someone to death for a crime; capital punishment - โทษประหารชีวิต
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated or heard by a court - คดี
  • chairwoman: a woman in charge of a meeting, a committee or an organisation - ประธานที่เป็นผู้หญิง
  • civil: of a case filed a court that deals with non-criminal matters, especially complaints made by people against other people or organisations - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาลแพ่ง
  • commission: a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
  • commitment: requirement; something that you must do - ข้อผูกมัด, ข้อสัญญา, ความรับผิดชอบ
  • comprehensive: complete and including everything that is necessary - ที่ครอบคลุม
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • consist: to be made of or formed from something - ประกอบด้วย
  • consist of: to be made of or formed from something - ประกอบด้วย
  • court: the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล
  • criminal: relating to illegal acts - เกี่ยวกับอาชญากรรม
  • crucial (adj): extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • deal with: to take appropriate action in a particular situation or according to who you are talking to, managing, etc. - รับมือ
  • decriminalisation: making it not a crime or less of a crime, often to end a waste of resources consumed by putting large numbers of people in jail -
  • detention (noun): forced to stay in a place - การกักตัว
  • discretion (noun): the freedom or power to decide what should be done in a particular situation - ความอิสระในการตัดสินใจ
  • draft: to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง
  • drug abuse: using drugs in a bad way; not to cure the disease the drugs were made to cure - การใช้ยาในทางที่ผิด
  • effectively: producing the result that was intended - ได้ผลดี
  • effort: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม
  • element: an important basic part of something complicated, for example a system or plan - องค์ประกอบ, ส่วนประกอบ
  • encourage: to cause someone to want to do something - กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
  • estimated: thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ
  • focus: to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • forum (noun): a place where people can express their ideas and opinions - ที่แสดงความคิดเห็น, การประชุมแสดงความคิดเห็น
  • global: world - เกี่ยวกับโลก
  • handed down: to say officially (what a court decision is); to say officially that someone should receive a particular punishment - ประกาศเป็นทางการ
  • harm: damage - ความเสียหาย
  • implement: to make something such as an idea, plan, system or law start to work and be used - นำแผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ, นำมาใช้
  • implementation: the process of making something such as a plan, system, idea or law start to work and be used - การบังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย)
  • incarcerated: kept in a prison - ถูกขังคุก, ถูกจำคุก
  • incarceration: detention; being forced to stay in a jail or prison; forced officially to stay in a place - การกักตัว
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
  • justice: a fair result or punishment from a court of law - ความยุติธรรม
  • Justice Minister (noun): The minister who heads the Ministry of Justice - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงกระทรวงยุติธรรม
  • lack of: when there is not enough of something - ขาด
  • late: dead - ที่ล่วงลับไปแล้ว
  • launch: an event to celebrate or introduce something new - การเริ่มปฏิบัติการ, การออกตัวของสินค้า
  • legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
  • legalisation (noun): the fact of making something legal - นิติกรณ์
  • legislation: a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament - กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย
  • marijuana (noun): a drug (illegal in many countries) made from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, which gives the person smoking it a feeling of being relaxed - กัญชา, ต้นกัญชา
  • member: a person, a country or an organization that has joined a particular group, club or team - สมาชิก
  • narcotics: illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine or crystal methamphetamine - ยาเสพย์ติด
  • necessary (adj.): essential, needful, something that you must do or have - จำเป็น, ซึ่งเลี่ยงไม่ได้, ซึ่งเป็นที่ต้องการ, สำคัญ
  • offence: a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
  • ongoing: happening at the present moment; continuing - ไม่หยุดยั้ง, ต่อเนื่อง
  • outright: complete and total - ขาด, ทั้งหมด,สิ้นเชิง
  • penalty: a punishment, or the usual punishment, for doing something that is against a law - โทษ
  • permanent secretary: a government official, not a political appointee, in charge of a ministry - ปลัดกระทรวง
  • personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
  • policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
  • pose: cause something, especially a problem or difficulty - เป็นเหตุให้
  • prevention: preventing something bad from happening - การป้องกันภ้ย
  • preventive (adj): intended to try to stop something that causes problems or difficulties from happening - ซึ่งป้องกัน, เกี่ยวกับการป้องกันโรค
  • Privy Council: the group of appointed advisors to the King of Thailand - สภาองคมนตรีไทย
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • prohibition: not allowing something; banning - (มีคำสั่ง)ห้าม
  • proposed: suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ
  • provisions: parts of an agreement or law that deal with particular problems or issues - เงื่อนไข
  • public: open to people in general - สาธารณะ
  • punishment: an act or a way of punishing somebody - การลงโทษ
  • recognition: public praise and reward for somebody's work or actions, the act of accepting that something exists, is true or is official - การยอมรับ
  • reduce: to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง
  • reduction: the process or result of making something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - การลดลง
  • reflect: to show - สะท้อน แสดงถึง
  • reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
  • refrain: to stop yourself from doing something - ระงับ เลิก
  • rehabilitation: the process of returning someone or something to a good or healthy condition, state or way of living - การทำให้กลับสู่สภาพเดิม, การทำให้กลับมาดีเหมือนเดิม
  • related (adj): connected with something/somebody; referring to something/somebody - เชื่อมโยงกับ
  • review: the process of studying or examining a situation, policy, or idea again in order to decide whether it is suitable or satisfactory - การทบทวน
  • shift: a change in something - การเปลี่ยน
  • significantly: in an important way - อย่างมีความหมาย, อย่างสำคัญ
  • situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์
  • so-called: used for saying that a particular word is usually used for referring to someone or something - ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน
  • society (noun): people in general, living together in communities - สังคม
  • solve (verb): to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation; to find out who is responsible for a crime - แก้ปัญหา, คลี่คลาย, หาคำตอบ
  • strategy: a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time - ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ  
  • suppression: stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity  - การปราบปราม
  • thanks to: because of - ด้วยเหตุ, เพราะ
  • trigger: to cause - ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น
  • unveil: to show or introduce a new plan, product, etc. to the public for the first time - เปิดเผย, ประกาศให้รู้ทั่วไป
  • venue: the place where an activity or event happens - สถานที่ที่จัดงาน
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