Drug law shakes up system

Drug law shakes up system

A new anti-narcotics law will take effect this week to consolidate drug enforcement powers and introduce harsher punishments for masterminds and financiers of drug networks, according to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

The law, set to go into effect on Thursday, will pull together drug enforcement powers that have existed under various laws managed by different agencies, it said.

Combining the powers under a single law would streamline enforcement procedures and do away with duplication of certain laws, said Wichai Chaimongkol, ONCB secretary-general.

The law is the product of efforts by state agencies to improve and modernise the legal framework to combat the narcotics trade, the ONCB said.

The move was consistent with what had been addressed in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drugs Problem 2016, it added.

The law regards drug users as patients to be treated rather than punished severely. It will also clearly separate users and peddlers from drug traders with the masterminds and financers of drug syndicates slated for swift legal punishments.

The money trail left by masterminds and financiers will be traced, and assets obtained from drug money seized using the value-based confiscation method which could drive them to bankruptcy.

Mr Wichai said seized drugs will be disposed of quickly instead of being kept in warehouses until the trial against drug offenders runs its course, as has been done in the past.

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