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Soaring prison population prompts Thailand to re-think ‘lost’ drug war

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Somsak Sreesomsong was 18 when he was jailed for selling illegal drugs. Now, turning 30, he is not yet half way through his 33-year sentence at Bangkok’s high-security Klong Prem prison.

Somsak was “just a kid, not a big-time dealer”, his older brother Panit told Reuters after a visit to the jail. “We’re also serving time, waiting for him to get out so he can help the family.”

More than a decade after Thailand declared a “war on drugs”, the country is admitting defeat. As the prison population soars, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters he was looking at changes to the country’s draconian drug laws.

“I want to de-classify methamphetamine but Thailand is not ready yet,” said Paiboon, meaning downgrading the drug, popularly known as “meth”, from a Category 1 substance, which would reduce jail time for possession or dealing.

Use of methamphetamine is spiralling across Southeast Asia, and authorities are struggling to respond.

http://www.euronews.com/newswires/3221404-soaring-prison-population-prompts-thailand-to-re-think-lost-drug-war/

 

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