Govt to act on drug abuse in factories
PM orders inquiry into 'widespread use'
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday ordered an investigation into allegations of widespread drug abuse in factories around the country.
Drug problems are said to have become rampant at several factories, schools and other types of educational institutions, according to recent feedback from local authorities.
The nationwide operation is set to begin soon while Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon will call a meeting next week with all parties concerned to discuss the issue, he said.
"This is a common problem that other countries are encountering, not only Thailand. And the government is trying its very best to cope with it using all legal measures available," said Gen Prayut.
The prime minister said he knew that security authorities were working hard to counter the trafficking of narcotics into and out of the country, but the suppression of their use was also important and needed to be stepped up.
Niyom Temsisuk, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), confirmed that several factories, which had recently been investigated, were found to have very serious drug problems.
"The factories aren't the source of the problem as the illegal drugs are being distributed to the workers by dealers in their community," he said.
The ONCB had earmarked several factories where drug-screening measures, such as random urine tests, will be conducted, and workers testing positive for narcotics use will be required to choose between voluntarily undergoing a drug rehabilitation programme or facing legal action in a criminal case.
The operation will be carried out at certain factories in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, namely Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram, he said.
Pol Col Thinnakon Rangmat, deputy chief of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau's Division 3, admitted drug abuse is widespread in communities, despite the bureau's efforts to curb the problem.
"The bureau is responsible for tackling drug trafficking, while suppression of drug abuse in communities is the responsibility of local police.
"The work of rehabilitating drug addicts is equally important.
"The lower the number of drug addicts, the lower the demand for the drugs will become," he added.
In related news, a combined force of more than 100 police, soldiers, local administrative officials and Narcotics Control Board officials raided 11 spots in Khon Kaen yesterday morning, in a fresh drug suppression operation.
"A total of 21 suspects were detained, 16 of whom were tested positive for drugs," said Somsak Jangtrakul, Khon Kaen provincial governor.
Seized along with these suspects were 119 tablets of methamphetamine, a marijuana plant, five homemade rifles and one homemade pistol.