Thailand: Temple left without monks after all fail drug test
While many people visit temples and places of worship to experience spiritual and mental peace, monks of a temple in Thailand have been found guilty of drug abuse and were defrocked, as per AFP reports. Monks are usually described as people who practice religious asceticism by monastic living, either with fellow monks or alone. However, it's not the case in this Buddhist temple.
Monks fail drug test
All monks at a Buddhist temple in central Thailand's Bung Sam Phan district, near the Phetchabun province, recently took a urine test on Monday during a raid by health officials and the police. The urine test results of the monks returned positive for illegal drugs, and as a result, all of them were forced to leave their monkhood.
Four monks, one abbot suspended: District official
District official Boonlert Thintapthai told the media that all four monks, including an abbot, tested positive for methamphetamine during the raid at the Bung Sam Phan district temple. Furthermore, the official also revealed that these monks have been sent to a health clinic, where they are set to undergo drug rehabilitation to get rid of their addiction.
What is methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine can be described as a highly addictive drug that hits the human nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine looks like glass fragments and is chemically identical to amphetamine, a drug used for the treatment of narcolepsy and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Temple now without monks: District official
Thintapthai also revealed that the Buddhist temple is now without any monks, with locals worried that they will be unable to conduct any merit-making. "The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making," the district official stated.
Why are the locals worried?
According to reports, the local community relied on these monks for religious functions. The local villagers also expressed concerns over who will maintain the temple's property and take care of the ten dogs and cats who live there. As a result, Thintapthai sought assistance from the monastic chief of Bung Sam Phan district, and they would assign some new monks to the temple soon.
Thailand govt's urgent action plan
Earlier this month, Thailand Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha announced the government's urgent action plan for addressing the problem. The Thai government's revised laws to improve the effectiveness of suppression and efforts to arrest drug sellers and traffickers have led to 11.1 billion baht (Thailand's official currency) worth of drugs being confiscated, according to local reports.
Thailand decriminalized cannabis
In April, Thailand became the first Asian nation to decriminalize cannabis. Under this, it's not a crime to trade and grow marijuana and hemp products or even use their parts to treat illnesses. However, its recreational usage still remains illegal in Thailand. The Thai government has also warned foreign tourists not to visit the country, thinking they will get to smoke joints freely.