Tanyarak Institute offers drug education

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The Tanyarak Rehabilitation Institute educated reporters on the effects of drugs on the brain, body and behavior in hopes of getting the word out to drug abusers to seek rehabilitation.

Dr. Suphan Sreethumma, director-general of the Public Heath Ministry’s Department of Medical Services, presided over the Sept. 19 workshop. He noted the government has contracted with the Tanyarak Institute and Tanyarak hospitals in six regions to run drug-rehab programs.

Dr. Suphan Sreethumma, director-general of the Public Heath Ministry’s Department of Medical Services.Dr. Suphan Sreethumma, director-general of the Public Heath Ministry’s Department of Medical Services.

The center and its hospitals have six priorities, including setting service standards, rehabilitating severely addicted drug users, guaranteeing the quality of rehab programs for all drugs, developing jobs, creating a drug-prevention network, and publicizing the effects of drugs with the public.

Dr. Viroj Veerachai of the Tanyarak Institute said the Office of the Narcotics Control Board estimates 1.2 million people are addicted to illegal drugs, but only 150,000-200,000 have sought or been sent to rehab. The overwhelming drug of choice is methamphetamines, either tablets such as ya ba, which is mixed with caffeine, or as crystal meth, which is more addictive.

Both have effects on the brain, he said, causing hallucinations, aggressive behavior, self-destruction, depression and even suicide. Users have been found as young as 12.

Most users, however, have not admitted themselves for rehabilitation while most addicts receiving help have been abusing the drugs for over 3-5 years, he said.