"Fast becoming cult reading all over the world." - The Daily Mirror, UK
QUESTION: Did you see that picture in the paper today of a man on drugs that was holding a woman hostage with a knife around her neck?
GOR: Yes. It makes me scared. Scared that I might be like him. I don't want to be like that. I think it is possible if I keep taking drugs. That is why I want to stop. Sometimes I watched the anti-drug adverts with my family. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. If I become like that man in the newspaper what are my parents going to say?
"I want every parent in the world to know and understand teenagers. If I can only stop one child taking drugs or help a parent to understand their child on drugs, I would be happy." - Gor (former drug addict)
Thai police prepare to destroy confiscated drugs during an event in conjunction with world's anti-drugs day. About 4,300 kilograms of narcotics, mainly heroin, opium and amphetamines were destroyed by the ministry of public health. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
Inept anti-drug media campaigns
Many public relations and advertising campaigns have been borrowed from the US, translated into Thai with little or no attempt to adjust them to the Thai context, and then launched with high-budget media blitzes.... [more]
Nearly 3 million drug addicts
The following survey was conducted between June and September 2001 by 20,000 health officials, who visited all 70,000 villages in the country. It was the most intensive study of the drug problem undertaken to date.
Thailand has almost 2.6 million drug abusers aged five to 68, including 2.4 million methamphetamine users, according to an official health survey.
Particularly worrisome was a finding that 4 per cent of five-to-nine-year olds have already started to experiment with the consumption and sale of methamphetamine pills, or ya ba, the report said.
Of the total number of abusers, 890,530 were found to be drug addicts, 821,963 of whom were addicted to methamphetamine, 26,656 to marijuana, 19,074 to heroin, 6,593 to glue-sniffing and 5,977 to the stimulant plant krathom.
The Northeast has the highest number of substance abusers with 797,297, followed by 477,270 in the South, 413,954 in the central region, and 399,671 in the North.
In Bangkok, there are 566,163 drug abusers, most of whom are methamphetamine users.
The highest number of drug addicts are in the 15 to 24 age group, though those using opiates are mostly aged 25 to 59.
- The Nation (29/Nov/2001)
Student Drug Addicts
The following survey was conducted among 46,936 students nationwide from Primary 6 to university level between July 31-Oct 11 2001.
Of all the drug users, 58.5% said they were addicted to methamphetamines, 42.2% to marijuana, 33.6% to sleeping pills or hallucinogenic drugs, 16.6% to solvents, 11.3% to Ecstasy, 10.5% to the so-called ``love drug'', 8.7% to ketamine, 7.6% to heroin, 5.6% to opium, 4.9% to cocaine, and 4.9% to morphine.
However, 71.2% of methamphetamine users said they had already quit.
Twenty-five percent said they were still using drugs, 2.3% admitted to selling drugs or legal high and the rest said they were both users and pushers.
Also, 70% of marijuana users and 57% of users of sleeping pills or hallucinogenic drugs said they had already quit.
Most users said they turned to drugs out of curiosity. The other reasons given for their involvement with drugs were the need to imitate their peers, family problems, fraud, nearness of drug sources, want of money, and intimidation.
One interesting reason given, was that of cognitive ability. Many young adults have claimed that they use “smart drugs” for maintaining alertness while studying. This seems to be a relatively new phenomenon, with a steady increase in reports of user claiming to be addicted to Modafinil, Adderall (Amphetamine) and Ritalin (Methylphenidate).
"Like you I am a teenager but I live in America. I see drugs around me all the time but now after reading your diary I am scared even to try just one time."
"It is easy to start taking drugs, but it is very difficult to quit. Believe me I know it well. Your life will never be the same again. Please don't try it even one time. Don't ruin all your future by experimenting with drugs like me." - Gor (four months after first taking drugs)
LETTERS TO A DRUG ADDICT: "I was very impressed with your interview and how you overcame your drug habit. I am a father in the U.S. I have a 24 year old son who went to prison for drugs. He now has overcome and is doing wonderfully. My heart is always close to anyone who has experienced the drug demon. I have never taken or sold drugs. At first it was hard for me to understand my son and why he wanted to do that. This occurred about 6 years ago and I lost touch with him because he refused to talk to me. I guess he felt ashamed. I hadn't seen my son for more than five years, but has recently started communication again because he want to see me now. Reading the accounts of your life has given me a little more insight of how important a roll peer pressure play in young people lives. I tried to figure out for many years what I had done wrong. I finally realized that it was my sons choice and I just need to be there for him when he needed me. This is where we are now. He calls me on his own and asks me why hadn't I called him sooner. (He used to tell me to stay out of his business) So I thank you for sharing a part of your life with the world. Surely you have helped thousands, but if it had only been 1, it has not been in vain. Thanks." - John, USA
"Gor, your interview is extremely inspirational - it was hard to keep the tears away from my eyes! Your story has truly touched me in an amazing way, and I commend you to continue to be a corageous man in your desire to keep far from drugs. You seem to have learned a lot from your mistakes, of which is highly honourable; I want to thank you for all the support and energy you bestow to keep "the worlds" teenagers away from drugs. Your story only confirms that every moment in life is a moment of learning, even in the deepest, darkest times... I love you brother!" - Dhand
"I am a teacher of physics and science at a school in Holland. I printed the teacher version of your series of interviews on your addiction and gave it to my pupils in Secondary 4 for reading. I later discussed it with them. I think it is of great interest for them and they really liked to talk about it. Thank you for revealing so much of your life." Will
"I also am a young person with almost two years clean and sober. Your higher power is watching you...always remember." - Rebecca
"You are a very strong man and you are very lucky to have the support of this interviewer. I will remember what you said about not being angry with the user if they fall and try not to upset them. Only to remind them of their mum and family and all who love them. I will use that as I assist my auntie recover. Best of luck to you in the future!" - Nesta
"My name is Camie, I am a 28-year-old woman from Canada who will be visiting Thailand at the beginning of May. I started looking at your site to learn some Thai words and then became curious about the link to your interviews on drug addiction. I thought you were an amazing boy before I knew you were a recovering drug addict...now, words can't express how much I respect you. You are an incredible young man with lots of talent and amazing dedication. I am very much looking forward to seeing your country. Thank you so much for putting together this great website and I wish you continued success in all your endeavours." Camie, Canada