Confessions of a Teenage Drug Addict > Drug Situation in Thailand

The narcotic drugs have become a serious health and social problem that obstructs socio-economic development as well as a threat to national security. The current national strategy on the reduction of drugs supply and demand for drugs has proven effective for drug control in Thailand. However, the success of efforts does not depend on those measure alone. The cooperation among the global community is a key element in ensuring a drug-free society. Many countries and international organisations have come to work with us to find the best solution to tackle these drug menaces. (Office of the Narcotics Control Board)


The Opium poppy cultivation is mostly located in 11 provinces in the northern region. Thailand has applied the opium eradication measure together with crop substitution projects since 1984 which has rapidly effected the cultivation areas from 8,777 hectares in 1984 to 1,037 hectares in 1999. However, opium eradication is often hampered by the rugged weather, inaccessibility of the terrain and communication difficulty.

The raw opium was mostly consumed by the hilltribes for relieving tensions and pains as well as for some traditional cultures and ceremonies. However, some of them are smuggled for local consumption in other regions as well as exported to Malaysia and United States.


The illicit heroin is mostly produced in neighboring countries and along Thailand - Myanmar borders in hilly forests with covert terrain in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son Provinces by the Independent Chinese Haw. The movement of the heroin syndicate is operated by the international organized crime groups such as Chinese and African Group.

For domestic trafficking, heroin is epidemic in some areas. The traders and users are still in the same groups of drug pushers who often sells heroin together with amphetamine.


The Marijuana plantations are scattered in every region, however, the northeastern region is the most planted area in Thailand. Moreover, hashish also is illegally smuggled into Thailand from Pakistan and Nepal for foreigner consumption as well as trafficking through Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

Marijuana seizure increased from 5.87 tons in 1998 to 14.66 tons in 1999. Most of them were smuggled from Lao PDR along northeastern border and from Cambodia along eastern border. The estimated exporting amount was 6.5 tons in 1999.

Volatile Substances

The volatile substance epidemic persisted among youths and adolescents in every part of Thailand, the northeast, southern, central and northern regions respectively. At present, there are glue, thinner and lacquer which are the most popular.


The movement of Methamphetamine producing groups still operates within Thai territory especially in Bangkok and suburb as well as some provinces in the central region. In 1999, there are 16 clandestine laboratories which were destroyed. Most of them are a kitchen lab which has small scales.

Syndicate. The production is smuggled across the border to the northeastern and northern region of Thailand. Some of the amphetamine also are smuggled from Cambodia.

Methamphetamine is highly addictive and not only spreads among labor groups but also among youth and students. The element of epidemic is an availability of demand and besides, Methamphetamine is also exported to many countries for Thai labor consumption. The destination countries are Switzerland, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and South Korea.

Ecstasy, Cocaine, Katamine

Ecstasy epidemic is a trend on the increase in youths and adolescents. The production expands intensively in entertainment places in Bangkok and big cities. Singaporean and Malay people are continuously playing an important role for smuggling ecstasy into the Thai market. In March 1999, Thai authorities destroyed the first ecstasy refinery in Songkhla Province. From the investigation, ecstasy powder was smuggled for tabulating in Thailand and distributing for local consumption in entertainment places as well as trafficking back to Malaysia and Singapore.

Cocaine is mostly smuggled into Thailand through Bangkok International Airport and postal parcel by Singaporean and African people. The consumption is limited to fixed client groups in tourist areas such as Bangkok, Phuket and Chonburi Provinces.

In Thailand, Ketamine is available in entertainment places and some illegal drug stores mostly for teenagers and prostitute users. The production is smuggled from Pakistan and India.

Drug Penalties

CATEGORY I dangerous narcotics such as heroin, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and LSD

Possession: imprisonment of 1-10 years and a fine of 10,000 - 100,000 Baht

Consumption: imprisonment of 6 months - 10 years and a fine of 5,000 - 100,000 Baht

CATEGORY II ordinary narcotics such as coca leaf, cocaine, codeine, concentrate of poppy straw, methadone, morphine, medicinal opium and opium

Possesion: imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and a fine not exceeding 50,000 Baht

Consumption: imprisonment of 6 months - 10 years and a fine of 5,000 - 100,000 Baht

CATEGORY III narcotics which are in the form of medicinal formula and contain narcotics of Category II as ingredients

CATEGORY IV chemicals used for producing narcotics of Category I or II such as acetic anhydride, acetyl chloride, ethylidin diacetate, chlorpseudoephedrine, ergometrine, ergotamine, isosafrole, lysergic acid, piperonal and safrole

Possession: imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and a fine not exceeding 50,000 Baht

CATEGORY V 4 narcotics which are not included in Category I to IV - i.e. cannabis, kratom plant, poppy plant and magic mushroom.

Possession: imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and a fine not exceeding 50,000 Baht

Consumption: imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and a fine not exceeding 10,000 Baht


Please note, if you are found in possession of a lot of drugs, the police authorities will assume you are carrying with an intent to sell. The penalties for this are severe in Thailand. You can get life or even execution.