Chadchart frets over schoolkids using weed

Chadchart frets over schoolkids using weed

Governor hopes shops won't sell to youngsters

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt, left, and deputy governor Sanont Wangsangboon, right, visit Wichutit School in Din Daeng district on Thursday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt, left, and deputy governor Sanont Wangsangboon, right, visit Wichutit School in Din Daeng district on Thursday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Keeping young people away from marijuana, hemp and kratom needs the help of businesses near schools, says Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt.

The governor was speaking at Wichutit School in Din Daeng district. It is one of 437 schools run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) which are being piloted as educational outlets free of the plants formerly classed as narcotics. 

The plants have been removed from the narcotics list, triggering concerns that marijuana, in particular, could be abused by young people and find its way into schools.

The governor said the decriminalisation of the three plants which are available widely could harm students who get hold of them. 

His visit to Wichutit School took him to the adjacent Prachasongkroh Road where some shops were selling cannabis leaves. 

Mr Chadchart said he has asked the school to produce pamphlets and put up banners educating students about the downside of the plants and their potential harmful effects. Also, municipal inspectors will check to prevent the plants from being smuggled into schools.  

He insisted the school was able to keep plants out of its premises. What worries him is shops selling cannabis that are close by. 

However, the businesses have cooperated by not letting youngsters enter their shops. "I have the businesses to thank for lending a hand in keeping the children safe," he said. 

Mr Chadchart said while the legalisation of cannabis may stimulate the economy, it might benefit only certain groups of people and the young are not among them.

He said kratom is sold freely around some schools. However, schools should not just accept the situation, and teach the students about its addictive properties.

"In fact, kratom may not be any less harmful than cannabis," he said. 

In the meantime, Mr Chadchart is pushing ahead with a project to procure safety helmets for young students who ride pillion on motorcycles to school. 

He said a survey showed 70% of the 270,000 young students attending BMA-run schools come to school on motorcycles but do not wear helmets. Often the parents could not find safety helmets that fit their children's small heads. 

The governor said a sponsor will support the helmet procurement project. The helmets might be ones loaned from the schools and they must be returned when the children grow up and can use regular-size helmets, he added. 

Deputy governor of Bangkok Sanont Wangsangboon, meanwhile, said students attending BMA-run schools will each receive two free school uniforms to help ease families' financial burdens.

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