Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak travels abroad to Vienna, Austria for the first time in his newly appointed role as TIJ's Executive Director to attend the United Nations 58th Commission on Narcotics drugs and to present TIJ's new research on Alternatives to Incarceration for drug related offenders in ASEAN.
Dr. Kittipong shared how Thailand is ranked 6th highest incarcerated country in the world with over 330,000 prisoners. Thailand is leading in the ASEAN region with 70 percent of males and 80 percent of females in prison due to drug related offenses. Our prisons are overcrowded and operating at 1.57 times the capacity and there is no decline in drug use with an estimate of 1.2 million users and Thailand's compulsory treatments are failing with 70 percent relapse rates. In Dr.Kittipong's closing remarks he emphasized that 'Drug use continues to be associated with criminal activity solved through law and order. Not only does the law criminalize drug use but society criminalizes the user. As long as this continues this limits the chances for drug users to successfully reintegrate into society as productive individuals without the burden of social stigma.
Through evidence-based research TIJ aims to equip policy makers and guide policy to reduce drug addiction, unnecessary incarceration of drug users and low level drug related offenses, and the burden large imprisoned populations pose on individuals, society and the state.