PSI calls for decriminalizing of Kratom

A group of about 60 people from several people’s foundations led by PSI Thailand Foundation today called on the Public Health Ministry to decriminalize Kratom and withdraw it from the ministry’s narcotics list.

The call followed a recent public debate hosted by the Justice Ministry on a proposal to withdraw Kratom from narcotics list under the Narcotics Drug Law 1979 which put Kratom  in Category 5 drug in the narcotics list.

In the debate, the Justice Ministry shared the same thoughts with the Office of the Narcotics Control Boar to withdraw Kratom from the narcotics list reasoning the use of Kratom is common in the South which perceives chewing Kratom leaves not a drug use. But representatives from the Public Health voiced different and disagreed with the delisting of Kratom.

A people network’s activist Sakda Puekchai said that as he is a southern and knew exactly well of Kratom since he was young. He said chewing Kratom by locals before doing farming or labor work has become a tradition. In the south it became a tradition to give guests to chew as a gesture of welcoming same as  Thai locals in the old days giving “Betal nuts” for visitors to chew. Later it was also said the leaves could be used to cure diabetes, he said.

Earlier the Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri voiced support for the delisting reasoning that he grew up in Bangkok’s Thonburi area wher Kratom was grown and used, and he never met anybody going into a drug-crazed stupor from its consumption.

He said in fact Kratom was used as a traditional medicine in the past but said he did not wish to promote the use of Kratom  but believed it may distract people from using harmful drugs like yaba or methamphetamines. He also said caffeine in coffee and energy drinks is more addictive than Kratom.