Illicit drugs sold via 58 social media accounts

Authorities are going after users of 58 social media accounts on which illicit drugs are offered for sale, and against others promoting methamphetamine injections by using the Twitter hashtag #ไฮ.

Investigators from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) have found the illicit drug trade to be rampant online, with 58 social media accounts involved between July and September, ONCB secretary-general Sirinya Sitdhichai said.

The ONCB will track down the users of the 58 accounts and bring them to justice, Thai media quoted him as saying on Saturday.

Mr Sirinya also expressed alarm about the creation of the hastag #ไฮ (“hi” or “high”) on Twitter, which links to posts that encourage people to try injecting crystal methamphetamine. Such posts, he said, were tantamount to advertising illicit drugs online, which is an offence under the Narcotics Control Act.

Offenders are liable to a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 baht. Repeat offenders will face a fine of 5,000 baht a day or double the amount of their advertising expenses for each day the offence was committed, said Mr Sirinya 

If a drug transaction is completed based on an online exchange, those who post the message will be charged with selling illicit drugs while buyers will be charged with possessing illicit drugs.

Mr Sirinya also warned that injecting crystal meth directly into a vein carried greater risk because the drugs would have rapid and severe effects that could cause death.

As well, he asked families and schools to keep a close watch on children and young people to make sure they posted messages or used social media in proper and constructive ways. 

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