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Health Ministry to Overhaul Drug-Rehab Centers After Kanchanaburi ‘Torture Site’ Closed

Drug users 'abused' at the rehab centre lodge complaints with police
Drug users 'abused' at the rehab center lodge complaints with police.

The Public Health Ministry will overhaul its drug rehabilitation centers in the wake of problems at one facility.

Watcharapong Khuwichitsuwan, secretary to the public health minister, said that after complaints against a rehab center in Kanchanaburi province, the provincial health office and local authorities formed a fact-finding committee to look into the issue, closed the center, moved some patients to Khao Chon Kai and let families pick up other patients from the center.

More than 200 men were freed by soldiers on Monday from a rehab center inside a temple in Kanchanaburi that was called a “site for torture” and other human-rights abuses.

A shaman and lawyer asked to the Crime Suppression Division to take action against Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung’s rehab center where 216 men were crammed into a single room. They were taken by trucks to a field hospital at the army’s Khao Chon Kai training camp in Muang district.

Living conditions at the facility were atrocious and called “hell on earth” by those detained there.

The investigation will lead to further action and the Public Health would overhaul its drug rehab centers in accordance with the new Narcotics Addict Rehabilitation Act, which requires quality control on centers and their standard including the proper numbers of their staff and addicts, Watcharapong said.

The Thailand News Agency contributed reporting to this story.