On November 1st, 2023, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panurat Lakboon, the Assistance Commissioner – General of the Royal Thai Police, publicly revealed per the Ministry of Public Health’s latest ministerial regulations that the possession of methamphetamine of 10 units or less would be considered criteria as drug users, not drug dealers.
According to the Criminal Code 2021, drug users are victims who need rehabilitation rather than being prosecuted in legal proceedings or serving long sentences.
However, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panurat voiced his concerns on the new criteria that the possession of illicit substances of 10 units or less would lead to more local drug dealers as they could carry 10 methamphetamine pills without being accused of distributing narcotic drugs.
Therefore, having arranged the new criteria, it would risk an increase in more local drug dealers as a result.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panurat personally considered that the number of illicit substances one could possess should be reduced to 5 units. Many factors need to be considered from medical aspects and law enforcement perspectives and will integrate with all government parties in the future as well.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panurat further added that as per an urgent order from Mr. Srettha Thavisin, the Thai Prime Minister, there was an arrangement for a particular special operation to bring drug users into a rehabilitation process in order to minimize the possibility of local community violence.
“Furthermore, Srettha publicly announced red zones of drug trafficking that needed strict control including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Nakhon Phanom. With international cooperation from neighboring countries, it would greatly be efficient to keep an eye on drug smuggling,” said Pol. Lt. Gen. Panurat.