Living in Thailand, something I’m flabbergasted at is how many farangs (westerners) either do illegal drugs or buy illegal drugs. I’ve had farang acquaintances regale me with stories of their drug-induced hazes on beaches in southern Thailand or of all-night pot parties at Thai friends’ houses.
Not only is doing drugs or buying drugs in Thailand an incredibly stupid thing to do, however, it’s also a practice that Thai police and government authorities are now beginning to crack down on. Targeting events like the famous Full Moon Parties in Thailand, that attract thousands of illegal drug-doing westerners every year, it’s likely there will be a huge increase in westerners being arrested for drug offences in Thailand in the near future.
Why You Shouldn’t Do or Buy Drugs in Thailand– Thailand already has a big drug problem among its own citizens. With drugs like ‘ya-baa’ being used by Thais, young and old, in recent years the Thai government has begun to crack down on drug use. If you use drugs, buy drugs or, god forbid, sell drugs in Thailand, you are putting yourself in jeopardy of being arrested and imprisoned for a very long time as Thai drug laws are severe.
Low Quantities of Drugs Now Penalized – In the last couple of years, the Thai authorities have lowered the amount of drugs that you need to be in possession of in order to be arrested and charged with a drug offence. As drug addiction has become more and more of a serious problem in Thailand, authorities are making sure even a small amount of pot in your possession is an arrestable offence. In their mind, it’s the only way to stop people doing drugs – period.
The Penalty for Drug Use or Distribution in Thailand – Penalties for possessing, using or selling drugs in Thailand are extremely severe. Even foreigners being found in possession of drugs, using or selling them will be given very high fines and could be sentenced to many years in jail. Any given year, there are between 20-60 Americans in Thai jails on drug charges and, with the new crackdown, this is likely to increase.
In extreme cases, the death penalty is given to people who traffick drugs, and this penalty is also likely to be seen more often. Only two months ago, two Thai drug traffickers were executed after being found guilty for the second time of trafficking drugs. When talking to my adult Thai friends about it, not one of them had any sympathy for the traffickers, feeling they got what they deserved, and you’ll find this is the prevalent attitude over most of Thailand.
No Excuses – Don’t ever carry packages or parcels in or out of Thailand for anyone, regardless of how well you know them. Every month, there are stories in the Bangkok Post or The Nation of foreigners who have used excuses that they didn’t know the packages they had been given to carry by a ‘friend’ were full of drugs. The Thai government pays no attention to these ‘excuses’ and, if caught with a drug package, you could very quickly find yourself sentenced to death.
Thai Jails – Thai jails are infamous as being extremely unpleasant places to be incarcerated in. With jail cells having up to 50 people in a cell, and all prisoners being required to sleep in rows on bamboo mats on the floor, most westerners will find this not only unpleasant but downright scary. Most Thais too, speak little or no English so, if arrested for drug offences in Thailand, you’ll probably find yourself in a Thai jail among people you cannot communicate with at all.
So, if you’re living or traveling in Thailand and think you might buy a bit of pot or take a toke from some offered by a friend – think again. The last thing you want is to be arrested and thrown into a Thai jail. Not only is doing drugs in Thailand an incredibly stupid thing to do, it’s also dangerous and could put you in a Thai jail for years or, even worse, see you sentenced to death.
copyright C. James – photo copyright Thoric – Creative Commons License