Most drugs come through Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Song. Use expected to increase!

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BANGKOK, Jan 2 – Thailand’s struggle with rising drug use will continue in 2011 with crystal methamphetamine likely to spread as the authorities plan a closer watch over border areas to prevent drug smuggling during the New Year, according to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

The ONCB will keep an eye on crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, which seems to be spreading this year as statistics show increased usage of ice during 2010 compared to 2009. Crystal meth is 90 per cent pure additive substance, causing easy addiction and severe impact on drug users, ONCB Deputy Secretary-General Permpong Chaovalit said.

Eighty per cent of illegal drugs came from three provinces–Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son– located near the drug production bases, he said. Thailand’s northern and northeastern borders have been closely monitored, and the ONCB has worked with security agencies to set up checkpoints at border as it believed that in 2011 more drugs will be smuggled into the country there.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban will meet with governors nationwide on Jan 14 on operations to suppress illegal drugs.

Under the government’s strategies, it aims to block transit routes for drugs, to crack down on drug smuggling and to treat drug addicts’ habits to decrease the demand for illegal drugs, Mr Suthep said.

Each agency must participate in drug suppression operations and work efficiency must be improved, he said. The current penalties are the highest that can be applied, so they will not be heightened, the deputy prime minister said.

Mr Suthep added that he ordered screening that will include monitoring government officials or politicians involved in illegal drug trafficking and that no one will be able to evade punishment. (MCOT online news)

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