NCPO to empower civilian agencies in fight against drugs

national July 11, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

GREATER AUTHORITY will be given to civilian entities to combat illicit drugs with an integrated approach that includes rehabilitative and preventive solutions.

The move is part of a new policy on narcotics suppression by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Legal amendments will be made to fully empower provincial governors, district chiefs, kamnan, village heads and relevant agencies involved in related operations, including the detection of drug money transaction and stricter management of prisoners jailed for drug offences. That was discussed yesterday at a meeting at the Army Club, led by General Paiboon Khumchaya, who oversees justice system reform.

Paiboon said the Interior Ministry would oversee the initiative and use its regular budget to carry out the tasks as well as an extra amount allotted to it earlier by the NCPO.

Among the problems facing the fight against drugs was the fact that anti-drug agents are not rewarded immediately and directly for their accomplishments, the meeting was told.

Rehabilitative and preventive solutions are expected to be in place within three months and will support community and recreational activities aimed at helping people say no to drugs. Paiboon said officials in charge of the initiative would not be penalised if they did not meet the targets by September, but adjustments to their work would be made.

He said drug addicts would undergo courses to hopefully bring about behavioural changes in accordance with the degree of addiction. They would also be given career training and there would be follow-ups to make sure they were not using again. Exhibitions and campaigns will be held at schools to discourage young people from using drugs, he said.

Interior Ministry permanent secretary Wibool Sa-nguanpong said the key agencies involved were the Office of Narcotics Control Board and the Public Health Ministry while acting national police chief General Watcharaphon Prasanratchakit would also be heavily involved.