The deputy premier made his remarks as director of the National Command Centre for Drugs Elimination (NCCDE) as the Yingluck government completed its first year with a high-profile policy to suppress illicit drugs.
Mr Chalerm said drug suppression operation between September 11, 2011 and September 8, 2012 was smooth, with good cooperation from all concerned agencies.
He said the drug suppression which the government made a national agenda has now become a regional agenda with cooperation from neighbouring countries, as well as China, leading to the arrest of the notorious drug lord Naw Kham.
The deputy Thai premier, however, said the drugs problem cannot be totally eliminated as the illicit drugs are made in a neighbouring country and smuggled to Thailand via the eight northern provinces.
Mr Chalerm reasserted he will push ahead with two drug-related bills including moving the execution of drug convicts from within 60 days to 15 days, and taking no legal action against drug addicts as they will be classified as patients.
The deputy premier said he has asked the interior ministry to instruct governors nationwide to identify drug addicts in local communities and take them to rehabilitation programmes, as well as welcome them back into society once they complete the treatment.
Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), reported that the ONCB one-year performance also exceeded its targets.
Gen Adul said that 508,850 drug addicts entered the ONCB drug rehabilitaion programme, higher than its target of 400,000.
He said there were 369,841 drug-related cases with 361,767 persons arrested, resulting in 4,700 assets seizure cases, with total assets frozen at Bt1.6 billion.
He said the agency impounded 76 million methamphetamine pills, 1.4 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine, and 256 kilogrammes of heroine.