By Pratch Rujivanarom

The NLA passed by a landslide vote the three narcotics control policy bills, which are an effort by authorities to reform official drug policies and tackle the problem of overcrowded prisons. Academics praised the new laws as heading in the right direction for drug reform, but cautioned that there remained the need for clear regulations to help prevent drug abuse and segregate drug users from drug dealers. Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prachin Chantong said that the three bills will later be merged into a single law regulating various aspects of drug issues. The final bill will aim to legalise a limited use of narcotics for medical, science and industrial purposes, while enhancing the rehabilitation of drug users and limiting the spread of drug abuse in society. Prachin said that in parallel with the new laws, a committee will be set up under the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) responsible for drafting rules and measures governing the use of narcotic drugs. As well, the ONCB will be required by the new laws to announce the legal use of kratom in specific areas and under certain terms and conditions.