Health ministry considers lowering possession limit
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Health ministry considers lowering possession limit

A meeting on Thursday will consider lowering the maximum number of methamphetamine pills a person can have in their possession before it is considered a criminal act, according to Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin on Monday.

At present, a person found with up to five methamphetamine pills will not face criminal charges -- instead, they are considered drug users who must be offered the option of rehabilitation.

The five-pill limit, which was signed on Feb 9 by then-Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew, has triggered widespread concerns over rising drug use.

Mr Somsak, who was appointed Public Health Minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle, said the May 16 meeting will decide the new limit, which will be put up for public feedback for 15 days before it is submitted to the cabinet for endorsement.

Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin

He emphasised the importance of focusing on the suppression of drug trafficking, noting the seizure of narcotic-related assets can help rein in the country's drug problems.

He said the court should decide if a person found with narcotics in their possession should enter rehabilitation or face trial instead.

"Even those who are found with just one pill must be arrested and face asset seizures," he said.

Meanwhile, police on Monday seized 400,000 methamphetamine pills worth 12 million baht and arrested a 34-year-old man as he was collecting the drugs in Songkhla's Hat Yai district.

The arrest followed a tip-off about an incoming shipment of illicit drugs via courier services.

Separately on Sunday, troops from the Pha Muang Task Force seized a total of 480,000 meth pills after a clash with a group of drug traffickers in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district near the Myanmar border.

The group, which comprised five to seven individuals, were travelling on foot when they were stopped for a search by the troops who were investigating a tip-off. The group resisted and opened fire on the soldiers.

A five-minute shootout ensued before the troops managed to clear the area and found four backpacks, each with 120,000 speed pills.

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