A Buddhist temple in central Thailand found itself emptied after all its monks tested positive for methamphetamine.
According to BBC, the group of 4 monks, including the abbot, were instructed to conduct a urine test after the authorities raided the temple that was located in the Bung Sam Phan district of the northern province of Phetchabun in Central Thailand.
Unfortunately, all of them tested positive for methamphetamine and were sent to a health clinic to receive rehabilitation treatment.
As a result, the temple was left completely devoid of any monks. This then made devotees of the temple worried as they were not able to perform ‘merit-making’.
‘Merit-making’ is a important Buddhist custom where devotees commit themselves to good deeds, in this case by offering food to monks, in exchange for a ‘protective force’ or contributing to a person’s growth towards enlightenment.
Nonetheless, local official Boonlert Thintapthai said that regional officials have consulted the local monastic chief, who pledged to delegate more new monks to the temple to address the concerns of worshippers.
Meth is becoming a big issue in East and Southeast Asia
According to the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, it was reported that methamphetamine trading in East and Southeast Asia is at its all-time high, with over 1 billion methamphetamine pills seized across the continent in 2021.
Unfortunately, Thailand has become a major transit point for methamphetamine. The drugs flood into the country from Myanmar — the world’s biggest producer of methamphetamine — via Laos.
In Thailand, these pills were reportedly sold at a street value of 50 Baht (≈RM6.31).
The raid was part of the local government’s effort to clampdown on drugs.