Drug reform gets a push

Drug reform gets a push

New plans for treatment of drug addicts and abusers are a welcome step on the way to badly needed drug reform. The steps announced last week by the chief of the prime ministers Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) may make it possible to begin rehabilitation instead of criminal treatment. As welcome as the new programme is, it is still only a tentative step towards what is needed. It is time for bold steps and a new outlook on the problem.

Illegal drugs are not just a sore on society. The suffering of addicts and their families is indisputable. But big-time drug smuggling is a threat to national security. Illicit drugs are a direct gateway to graft, even at very high levels. The "big fish" makers and smugglers corrupt virtually everything and everyone they touch.

Because the five-decade "war on drugs" is such an obvious failure, it is vital to find and employ new methods. One of the first attempts to dip Thailand's toe in the river of national drug reform was announced last week by the junta-appointed ONCB secretary-general, Sirinya Sitdhichai. He has put in motion what he is too grandly calling "a comprehensive drug rehabilitation programme". In fact, the new policy brings only some small, if highly important changes.

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Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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