Volunteer health workers urged to report drug crimes
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Volunteer health workers urged to report drug crimes

Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin has called on local health volunteers to tip off authorities about drug smugglers, adding that alerting authorities is part of their job and makes them eligible for rewards.

Battling the currently severe drug problems is among the ministry's top priorities, Mr Somsak said.

Cooperation from health volunteers, approximately one million people who are registered under the ministry nationwide, is needed to provide the authorities with information regarding the drug situation in their communities.

He said that rewards for information are guaranteed by law at 5% of the estimated value of the confiscated drugs.

Informing can be anonymous, and the ministry would facilitate informers until they receive their rewards, Mr Somsak said. According to him, among the ministry's efforts in dealing with drug issues is to come up with clear policies on amphetamine possession and cannabis.

The ministry has planned to lower the maximum number of amphetamine tablets an individual can possess to be legally considered for personal consumption from five pills to one.

He said the ministry would begin to gather public opinion regarding the law amendment through its online platform, which was to open yesterday.

Regarding cannabis policy, he said the ministry would meet with representatives of a pro-cannabis group on Thursday to discuss the government's plan to list every part of a cannabis plant as a narcotic under the drug law.

Mr Somsak said the government regards local health volunteers as a significant mechanism for building the country's health security.

"They work very hard to respond to the government's policy on providing primary healthcare service for patients under the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme," he said.

He said that the volunteer workers' allowance should be increased, considering their hard work and current economic situation.

Mr Somsak said that the ministry is to draft a local health volunteer bill to secure an allowance in the future.

Participating in the volunteer project will help people improve their skills and the possibility of developing a career as a nurse assistant, he said.

The minister added that the majority of 1.07 million local health volunteers nationwide were trained to work with online information and digital technology.

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