Pubdate: Sat, 03 Mar 2012
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2012
Author: Lamphai Intathep


More than 37,000 students across the nation face an invasion of 
drugs, with many pupils and education officials trafficking addictive 
substances, it was revealed in talks at a high school yesterday.

The information was unveiled during a visit from Deputy Education 
Minister Sakda Khongpetch and officials from the Office of the 
Narcotics Control Board and police at Satriwittaya School.

The officials searched for drugs and randomly tested students and 
education authorities for substance use.

It was part of the ministry's "White (clean) School" anti-drug campaign.

The campaign label was presented to schools where no evidence of drug 
use had been found.

"The campaign is mainly to establish schools' strength [resolve] to 
overcome any form of illegal drugs as schools must be 100% clean," 
the deputy minister said.

The ministry's survey, among 5,828 schools in 59 provinces 
countrywide, covering 2,102,884 students and 22,807 teachers, from 
Thursday, found 37,548 students and 74 teachers and education 
authorities, have been involved in some form of addictive substance use.

Of them, 23,595 people had a smoking habit, 22,429 people had 
consumed alcohol, 548 people had used amphetamine, 305 people had 
smoked marijuana, 119 people consumed Mitragyna speciosa or "kratom", 
69 people used volatile matters and 66 people consumed "ice" (crystal 

The survey found 9,355 people had been treated for addiction.

"Worse, 69 students had been involved in drug dealing and an 
estimated 100 government servants for the Education Ministry are also 
suspected to be drug addicts and dealers," Mr Sakda said.

"An in-depth investigation will be conducted. If those education 
authorities are found guilty, both criminal and disciplinary 
punishment will be forwarded right to them."

He said that if no serious measure was taken to tackle drug abuse, it 
was feared the use of drugs would double as a result of the 
establishment of the Asean Community in 2015, when workers can move 
freely across national borders.

Mr Sakda said he had heard of police asking for 10,000 baht for each 
tablet of drugs they had found on people, as a bribe to ensure their freedom.

"If this is really happening, this kind of illegal behaviour must be 
stopped," he said.
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