In a significant development aimed at addressing the escalating drug concerns within communities, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin recently held a crucial meeting with Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang and Army Chief Gen Charoenchai Hinthao. The focus of their discussion revolved around the severity of drug issues in the country, leading to a strategic decision by the government to employ military facilities for the treatment and stabilization of individuals struggling with drug addiction.
Aligned with the broader government policy to mitigate the harm caused by illicit drugs, military authorities have committed to repurposing their premises to address the pressing issue of drug addiction. While comprehensive details are expected to be unveiled in the coming two weeks, this innovative approach signals a collaborative effort to tackle the nation’s drug problem from a unique vantage point.
During a recent workshop involving key stakeholders such as the Defence Ministry, the Public Health Ministry, the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), and local administrative organizations, a proposal emerged to establish rehabilitation centers specifically catering to patients grappling with mental disorders arising from drug abuse.
The envisaged centers, designed to cater to ‘orange-coded’ patients, will serve as crucial intermediaries, offering initial treatment before directing individuals to specialized drug rehabilitation institutes or mental health hospitals. To ensure the effective implementation of this pioneering initiative, the Public Health Ministry and the ONCB are set to formulate operational guidelines. Additionally, discussions on potential legislative measures to support these efforts, encompassing staff training and budgetary allocations, are underway.
In the initial phase, four army hospitals located in Prachin Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, and Kanchanaburi will be transformed into rehabilitation centers, each equipped with 40 beds. Following this, the project is slated to expand to five more army hospitals in Udon Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Phitsanulok, Lampang, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, adding an additional 50 beds. In the subsequent phase, the program is poised to encompass all remaining 27 military hospitals, thereby providing a cumulative total of 110 beds to support the comprehensive initiative.
This groundbreaking endeavor reflects a multi-faceted approach to combating the pervasive issue of drug addiction, leveraging military resources to enhance the nation’s response to this critical public health concern. As the government forges ahead with this unprecedented strategy, further updates on the operationalization of these rehabilitation centers are eagerly anticipated.