'WAR ON DRUGS' NOT OVER YET
The government's "very successful" war on methamphetamine drugs is not over yet, as police are now targeting large-scale drug dealers.
Officials stopped counting the number of deaths related to the drug trade two years ago, said a senior official at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.
"We use the same strategy then as now. If they're killed by officers it means that were violently resisting arrest," Chartchai Suthiklom, deputy secretary-general of the ONCB, said yesterday.
Chartichai did not provide a figureon the number of people killed in the war on drugs, but said "murder cases somehow [still] occur [and] police will have to take care".
One indicator of the success on the war on drugs is the price of methamphetamine, which rose from Bt100 before the initiative began to Bt300 today. Production has also decreased in the Golden Triangle area and drug trafficking is conducted in smaller quantities today. Success in quelling the drug trade also means that there are 200 dealers currently on death row.
Chartchai, whose presentation coincided with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)'s release of its 2005 World Drug Report, said crystallised methamphetamine -- called "ice" or "shabu" -- is being produced in Burma, the Philippines, Malaysia and Fiji.
The UNODC report revealed that some 200 million people or 5 per cent of the world's population aged 15-64 had used drugs at least once in the last 12 months -- that is 15 million people more than last year's estimate.
The number of cannabis users is now close to 160 million worldwide, or
4 per cent of those aged between 15-64.
Cannabis continues to be the most widely produced, trafficked and consumed drug worldwide, with the market continuing to grow.
The report found that there were 26 million amphetamine users worldwide -- with Thailand showing a notable decrease in its number of users -- and 8 million ecstasy takers. The report stated that cocaine and heroine continued to be the main problem drugs internationally.