Cholnan backs leniency to further reduce drug crime

Cholnan backs leniency to further reduce drug crime

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew
Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew is confident a new limit on methamphetamine pill possession will suppress small drug dealers.

"I insist the law will be effective right after it's issued," Dr Cholnan told the media.

The new policy specifies that five methamphetamine pills are the maximum amount a person may possess without facing criminal charges. They will be considered drug users and given the option of rehabilitation instead.

This is part of the government's policy to treat drug users as psychiatrically ill patients in an effort to rake out small dealers, Dr Cholnan said.

All facets of the new drug limit have been thoroughly reviewed based on medical science and approved by the relevant committee, cabinet and Council of State, he said.

Responding to comments on social media that the law will spur the drug trade, Dr Cholnan said he will not show any tolerance to drug dealers.

If those in possession of narcotics are found to be dealers, they will face severe punishments.

Regarding drug users, Dr Cholnan said they would be given a one-time chance to undergo rehabilitation without facing a jail term. But if they repeat the offence, they will face legal action.

He said the law does not stipulate how many times the drug users can undergo rehabilitation. Each case will be determined on its merits.

"If the drug addicts have a strong intention to undergo rehab, one time is normally enough for them to change," he said.

Dr Cholnan noted that authorities should also consider the environment in which the drug addicts live and ways of tackling the bigger picture.

"Most small drug dealers likely start as users until they run out of money and become dealers instead," said Dr Cholnan.

"If we can separate drug users from the sellers by rehabilitating them until they have recuperated, we will be able to eradicate the cycle of drug abuse," he said.

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