The Public Health Ministry has instructed provincial health offices to screen people caught using illegal drugs for possible addiction and to send the addicts for treatment.
The scheme covering 526 tambon in 68 provinces is part of the government’s latest drug-abuse prevention policy.
The Drug Prevention and Suppression Office and other security agencies estimated there could be as many as 14,000 drug addicts in the 526 tambon.
Dr Pisit Sriprasert, deputy permanent secretary at the ministry, said the provincial offices had three months to complete the work.
Addicts would be sent to community public health units for treatment under a concept called “Community Based Treatment and Care”, he said.
“Drug addicts are sick people and need help and medical care,” Pisit said.
“It’s not just about drug addiction – social conditions and the environment also play roles. They need support, and once treated they can return to society and live normal lives and contribute to society like other people. Society should give them a chance.”