Cabinet approves one-pill rule for meth users
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Cabinet approves one-pill rule for meth users

Regulation a response to heavy criticism of 5-pill rule separating users from dealers

Speed pills are displayed at a media briefing in Samut Prakan on Feb 8, 2024. (Bangkok Post File Photo)
Speed pills are displayed at a media briefing in Samut Prakan on Feb 8, 2024. (Bangkok Post File Photo)

The cabinet has approved in principle a law stipulating that anyone found in possession of more than one methamphetamine tablet will be regarded as an offender and will not have the option of being sent to rehabilitation, said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

The draft regulation proposed by the Ministry of Public Health is a response to widespread criticism of an earlier rule specifying that anyone caught with five or more speed pills would be subject to legal action.

The regulation drew flak for opening up a loophole under which anyone possessing between one and four pills would be regarded as a drug addict requiring treatment, meaning they would be able to evade a potential prison sentence.

Mr Srettha, who chaired Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, said on Tuesday that a person caught with one tablet — or the equivalent of no more than 100 milligrammes of meth — would be assumed to be a first-time offender who should be rehabilitated.

The draft regulation will now be sent to the Council of State, the government’s legal arm, for vetting.

Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin said before the cabinet meeting that there is a condition attached to the one-tablet rehab rule: the person must prove they acquired the drug for their own consumption and not for selling.

If they fail to prove that, they will face prosecution, the minister said.

Once the Council of State finishes the vetting process, the draft will be returned to the cabinet before it takes effect, Mr Somsak said, adding the process could be wrapped up within this month.

The minister said the proposed one-tablet cut-off was intended to separate addicts from drug dealers and traffickers.

As part of an extended crackdown against the drug trade, any assets obtained using drug money — including those bequeathed to other persons — will be seized.

Mr Somsak said the law also allows for rewards to be granted to officials involved in investigating and compiling illicit drug cases, as well as to informants.

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