The government plans to establish narcotic drug command centres in three provinces in the North and Northeast, spokesman Chai Wacharonke said on Tuesday.
The plan is in line with the current government’s decision to devise more measures to promote comprehensive drug suppression, with results expected within one year, he said.
Command centres will be established in 11 districts in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and four districts in Nakhon Phanom, to improve efficiency in terms of cooperation and intelligence sharing among agencies involved in the fight against drugs, according to Mr Chai.
The three provinces were chosen because they are home to the primary transport routes used by trafficking gangs to smuggle methamphetamine and other illegal drugs.
According to a report by the Ministry of Justice, at least 80% of seized narcotics, mostly produced in the Myanmar-Thailand-Laos border or the so-called Golden Triangle, came from the northern provinces prior to 2022.
As suppression measures intensified in those areas, drug dealers shifted an estimated 45% of their imports to the northeastern region.
Enforcement efforts on the route have led to a spike in drug seizures. The report said that 500 million pills have been seized so far this year, compared with around 70 million in 2003.
The Royal Thai Police estimate that at least 600,000 people are addicted to illegal drugs in the country, with 30,000 suffering mental illness as a result of their addiction, said Mr Chai.
The announcement of the new command centres followed the arrest of three members of a drug gang in Muang district of Chiang Mai a day earlier, with 5 million pills seized.