Community-based anti-drug plan eyed, but police have qualms

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Police are questioning a proposed community-based program to combat illegal drug use through increased monitoring and rehabilitation, saying it runs counter to their goals to lock up users.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh met with Pattaya-Sriracha Network Party President Niran Chuiviset and representatives from the Pattaya and Banglamung police stations Sept. 2 at Pattaya City Hall to outline the goals of the “Combating Drugs in Pattaya-Sriracha” initiative.

Pol. Col. Krissakorn Thong-In says police generally agree with a community-based approach to drug enforcement, but have qualms about how tolerant it appears. Pol. Col. Krissakorn Thong-In says police generally agree with a community-based approach to drug enforcement, but have qualms about how tolerant it appears.

Niran said the program calls on chiefs of 37 villages to establish committees to keep better tabs on abusers, dealers and sources of drugs and report offenses to police. He said it also emphasizes the importance of access to assistance, care and prevention. In cases of addiction, the drug user would be interrogated on the source of narcotics and given a “second chance” through rehabilitation.

In the case where a user is also a minor dealer, Niran added, the addict would be used to catch larger dealers.

Col. Krissakorn Thong-In, Deputy Pattaya Police Crime Suppression Director, said police generally agree with a community-based approach, but some of the program’s goals – particularly those giving drug users and minor dealers “second chances” – runs counter to police directives to lock up anyone found using even the smallest quantity of drugs.

He said officers might be reluctant to go along with the program if they were penalized for not meeting their arrest quotas.

He said more work is needed to integrate police policies with the goals of community leaders. Thus, more meetings are planned and will involve representatives from all 37 affected communities.