Drug abuse surveillance in Royal Thai Army during 2013 – 2015
Sumalee Phajan, Darunee Utennam, Jirapat Muangkhompat, Wannakamol Thongnuan W, Khunakorn Kana and Duangporn Phulsuksombati
Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences
Drug abuse is a national security threat that affects the health of drug users, both physically and mentally. It is a cause of crime, undermines national security, and hinders to economics and national development. As the Royal Thai Army (RTA) awareness of this problem increased, the RTA began to regularly issue regulations, orders and directions regarding the prevention and suppression of drug abuse.
The analytical testing was performed with urine samples obtained from suspects in RTA units and sent to Section of Narcotics and Toxicology, Analysis Division, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS). Analytical methods included two parts: 1) drug screening of methamphetamine, cannabinoids, and morphine and its derivatives by using immunochromatography technique and 2) drug confirmation of methamphetamine in positive urine samples by using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), a gold standard.
A total of 3,039, 3,614 and 4,791 urine samples were analyzed in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. The urine screening tests were tested by using immunochromatography and confirmed with GC-MS, 7.07%, 8.22% and 4.61% were positive for methamphetamine, 1.61%, 2.27% and 3.55% were positive for cannabinoids, respectively. In 2013, 0.03% of samples were positive for morphine and its derivatives. For 2014 and 2015, samples were not tested for morphine and its derivatives.
The prevalence of drug abused in the RTA from 2013 to 2015 tended to decrease, especially methamphetamine. The results from this study are useful data on drug abuse surveillance in the RTA. The study provides the information of drug abuse surveillance that can assist unit commanders for drug preventions and drug suppressions, screening of drug users before sending them for rehabilitation as well as following up for treatment.