METH as ruling junta’s general admits the world has lost the war on drugs
- Justice minister Paiboon Koomchaya said current approach had failed
- Claimed meth, or ya ba, was less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes
- Military junta has previously favoured a zero-tolerance policy to drugs
Thailand is considering legalising meth as the country’s justice minister admits they have lost the war on drugs.
Paiboon Koomchaya suggested the highly addictive methamphetamine, known as ya ba in Thailand, should be taken off the dangerous drugs list because it is ‘less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes’.
It signals an about turn in policy for the country’s military junta, which has previously favoured a zero-tolerance policy, with harsh jail sentences.
But speaking on Wednesday, Koomchaya said the current approach was not working, the Bangkok Post reported.
‘The world has now surrendered to drugs, and has come to think of how to live with drugs,’ he said.
‘It is like a man suffering from cancer and having no cure and he has to live a happy life with the cancer.’
Any legalisation of crystal meth would have to be carefully considered and controlled, Koomchaya added.
But his words were met with caution by Prateep Ungsongtham Hata, secretary general of the Duang Prateep Foundation, the Post reported, who said it would increase the number of users.
Thailand is already struggling under the weight of its drug problem.
Two years ago, Koomchaya claimed there were 1.3million drug addicts in Thailand, some 250,000 of whom had been jailed for their habit.
Even then he was advocating looking at different ways to combat the problem.
‘The world also agrees that imprisonment is not the answer to convince drug convicts to give up the habit,’ he told people gathered at the launch of a rehabilitation programme, The Nation reported.
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