The office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has issued an alert about so-called "virginity-loss" pills.
Such pills, which are now widely advertised on the Internet, are very likely to contain the tranquiliser alprazolam and are sold overseas under the brand name Xanax. "The number of reported crimes involving such drugs has been rising," said ONCB secretary-general Niyom Termsrisuk.
These psychoactive drugs have sedative, hypnotic, anxiety-reducing, anti-convulsant, muscle-relaxant and amnesic side effects. They are therefore usually prescribed to patients suffering from alcohol dependence, seizures, anxiety disorders, panic, agitation and insomnia.
However, when they are abused, they can be very dangerous to women. Victims of sex crimes, for example, will hardly remember anything if they are inadvertently fed such drugs and violated. Indeed, the sellers of such drugs wilfully promote them as "virginity loss" pills and thus attract buyers who have bad intentions. "Drugged victims are often sexually abused or robbed," said Niyom, who pointed out that alprazolam was classed as a prescription drug and could not be sold over the counter at pharmacies.
Thai law, moreover, has prescribed harsh punishments for those who commit offences related to it.
An unlicensed importer, manufacturer or exporter of alprazolam faces a prison term of between five and 20 years and a fine of between Bt500,000 and Bt2 million, while an illegal seller faces a term of seven to 20 years and a fine of Bt700,000 (S$29,208) to Bt2 million.
A person found to be in illegal possession of the drug is also liable to a jail term of between one and five years and/or a fine of Bt20,000 to Bt100,000; for an abuser, the maximum sentence is three years and/or a maximum fine of Bt60,000.
Nevertheless the drug has still apparently leaked into Thai society and led to criminal offences being committed. ONCB has therefore asked police to closely monitor entertainment venues so as to prevent any of their customers from abusing it. Niyom has also urged parents and teachers to keep watch of their children or students to make sure they aren't led astray. In a related development the Consumer Protection Police Division has taken action against a person advertising "virginity-loss pills" on social media.
Pol Colonel Chanannat Sarnthawanpaet, a superintendent at the division, said yesterday that Kanyamon Sathianram, a woman living in Nakhon Ratchasima province, had been arrested in connection with the Facebook page.
Found in her possession were several drugs that claimed to boost sex drive and products advertised as "virginity-loss pills".
"The pills so far are in fact made of chlorine," Chanannat said. Kanyamon has been charged with selling modern medicines without permission and selling so-called medicine items that were not listed as drugs. If convicted of both charges, she could be jailed for up to eight years and/or also be fined.