The recent police raid on a drug-fuelled party at a resort in Ban Lat district, which resulted in the detention of more than 60 teenagers, most of them tested positive for drugs, is a shocking and disturbing incident that should serve as a wake-up call for the authorities and the society.
The incident exposes the extent and severity of the drug problem among the young generation in Thailand, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, and the online influence.
According to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the number of drug users in Thailand increased by 12 per cent in 2020, reaching 1.5 million, of which 30 per cent were under 24 years old. The ONCB also reported that the most commonly used drugs were methamphetamine, ketamine, and ecstasy, which are often consumed at parties or gatherings.
The ONCB attributed the rise in drug use to several factors, such as the stress and boredom caused by the lockdowns and restrictions, the loss of income and opportunities, and the easy access and availability of drugs through online platforms and networks.
The ONCB also warned that the drug users are exposed to various health and social risks, such as addiction, overdose, infection, violence, crime, and stigma, which could ruin their lives and futures.
The drug-fuelled party incident also reveals the failure and negligence of the authorities and the society in preventing and combating the drug problem among the youth, which requires a comprehensive and holistic approach.
The authorities, especially the police and the ONCB, should step up their efforts and coordination in cracking down on the drug supply and distribution networks, especially those that operate online or across borders, and in enforcing the law and regulations on the drug-related activities and venues.
The authorities should also enhance their cooperation and communication with the relevant agencies and stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the local administrations, the schools, the parents, the communities, and the civil society, to provide more education, awareness, and counseling on the dangers and consequences of drug use, and to offer more support, treatment, and rehabilitation for the drug users.
The society, especially the parents and the peers, should also play a more active and responsible role in monitoring and guiding the youth, and in providing them with more positive and constructive alternatives and opportunities, such as sports, arts, hobbies, and volunteering, to cope with their stress and boredom, and to fulfill their potential and aspirations.
The drug-fuelled party incident is a wake-up call for the authorities and the society to take more serious and urgent actions to address the drug problem among the youth, which is not only a threat to their health and well-being, but also to national security and development.