Temple drug addiction center closed by medical services

Thailand’s Department of Medical Services has ordered the closure of a drug rehab center at Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung in Kanchanaburi following complaints of physical abuse and alleged extortion of patients admitted for treatment.

According to Bangkok Post, the local chief (district official) said he received an urgent letter from the deputy director general of the medical services department on Thursday evening.

The letter ordered the immediate closure of the drug rehabilitation center in Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung.

The letter, signed by Manus Potaporn, deputy managing director, said the drug rehab center did not meet the criteria for a treatment center under the Narcotics Act.

In addition, the drug rehab center’s license to operate expired on the death of the licensee, who was the temple abbot who died on Monday.

The Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung drug rehab center became a media sensation in Thailand when a famous shaman and a lawyer took reporters to the site on Monday to expose the horrific conditions. They said the center violated human rights, including starvation, torture, beatings and extortion of the patient’s relatives.

According to media reports, there were more than 200 men crammed into a room with only two toilets.

The lawyer and the shaman have requested a formal investigation because the abbot of the temple died 15 minutes before he was raided by army soldiers on Monday. After the raid, army soldiers released the patients, most of whom were taken to public hospitals.

The lawyer and the shaman allege that the drug rehab center was run by a criminal network involving the police and corrupt officials.

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