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Thailand burns six tons of drugs

Chiang Mai (mizzima) – The government of Thailand burnt six tons of narcotic drugs on World Drug Day on June 26, even as UNODC tries to raise awareness among young people, the high risk group relating to drug abuse.

Wittaya Kaewparadai, Minister of Public Health presided over the function to burn the drugs which were seized in 4,426 drug related cases in Thailand. The drugs were worth about 9,300 million baht (282 million US$).

The drugs destroyed were mainly Marijuana - 2,980 kilograms,
Methamphetamine - 2,737.75 kilograms or 30 million tablets, Heroin
- 228.32 kilograms, Ecstasy (or Yaa Ee) - 10.48 kilograms and Cocaine - 9.23 kilograms.

Wittaya said the drugs were burnt by using high temperatures, which did not cause air pollution. “The Ministry of Public Health operates 5,628 clinics for treating addicts. In 2010 the government will increase its budget to rehabilitate more addicts,” he added.

According to a statement from the ministry in 2008, there were 86,477
drug addicts treated in the ministry’s clinic of whom 90 per cent were men, 8 per cent were addicted to methamphetamine and 8 per cent addicted to Marijuana. The largest age group was between 8 and 24 year olds accounting for 40 per cent, followed by 25 to 29 year olds accounting for 23 per cent.

The main production areas are in Thailand’s neighbouring countries, particularly Burma which shares a border with the northern part of the country.

The burning of the drugs was held on the occasion of World Drug Day on June 26. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for help for people suffering from drug addiction. He also urged reduction of the number of dangerous places on this planet where drugs are produced, trafficked and consumed.

In his message on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit
Trafficking, Ban said, "Drug abuse can be prevented, treated and controlled. I urge member states to upgrade their preventive intervention and integrate drug treatment into public health programmes. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime continue to work with governments and other partners to scale up drug treatment world-wide".

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as part of its world drug
campaign, on Friday released a new public service announcement (PSA) which follows four young people as their health deteriorates and they suffer the ravages of drug abuse.

The PSA called on young people, who are particularly vulnerable to drug use, to face the truth about drugs. The prevalence among the young is more than twice as high as that among the general population. Peer pressure to experiment with illicit drugs can be strong and self-esteem is often low. Also, those who take drugs tend to be either misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved.

In addition, UNODC also released its annual report on Wednesday, which says Burma’s share of global opium production has roughly been steady over the last year, according to a 2009 drug production report.

Poppy cultivation in Burma marginally increased to 28,500 ha (hectares) in 2008 from 27,700 ha in 2007, with the total potential value of opium production rising only by three million dollars, to US$ 123 million, in 2008.

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 June 2009 15:16 )  

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