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Paetongtarn Shinawatra Urged to Embrace Alcohol Law Reform: A Call for Health and Safety in Thailand

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On an ordinary Monday that quickly turned extraordinary, the vibrant headquarters of the Pheu Thai Party became the epicenter of a crucial gathering. A wave of determination swept through as about 60 fervent advocates from various anti-drink driving factions converged on the scene. Their mission? To issue a rallying call to the political powerhouse, urging the acceptance of all legislative bills aimed at revamping the law governing alcoholic beverages. The motive behind this passionate plea was simple yet profound: to ensure every proposed amendment received its due debate in the hallowed halls of the House of Representatives.

The timing was critical, with the winds of change blowing as reports hinted at the House’s impending deliberation of the proposed amendments to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Act on the forthcoming Wednesday. Spearheaded by civil groups and the formidable opposition, the Move Forward Party (MFP), three amendments had already made their way to the legislative table. Not to be outdone, two additional propositions, courtesy of the Pheu Thai Party and the Public Health Ministry, were eagerly waiting in the wings.

At the heart of this earnest assembly was a poignant appeal directed to Pheu Thai’s very own Paetongtarn Shinawatra. The call was to bridge the gap between bolstering the economy through extended alcohol sales hours and safeguarding public health. Ratchthirat Soonsan, whose life was irrevocably changed by the tragedy of drunk-driving, found a kindred spirit in Paetongtarn. As both a wife and a mother, Paetongtarn’s ability to empathize with Ratchthirat’s loss was unparalleled, offering a glimmer of hope in the quest for meaningful legislative reform.

Amidst this, comparisons were drawn to the government’s controversial cannabis liberalization policy, a cautionary tale of recreational misuse leading to widespread health dilemmas. The collective voice of the network was clear: history must not repeat itself with alcohol.

Thirapat Khahawong, a steadfast coordinator of the movement, shed light on the positive impacts of the current alcohol laws. Drafted with the World Health Organization’s guidelines in mind, these laws played a pivotal role in curbing alcohol’s allure, leading to a noticeable dip in the number of drinkers. This legislative framework managed to slash the statistic from 18 million in 2007 to a significantly lower figure of 16 million by 2021. Yet, amidst this progress, Thirapat underscored the need for comprehensive consideration of each proposed amendment, stressing the importance of public health above all.

Adding to the chorus of concern was Jetsada Yaemsabai, the chairman of the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation. With the conviction of a seasoned advocate, he delineated the undeniable havoc wreaked by alcoholic beverages, a scourge that overshadowed even tobacco and methamphetamine. As the existing alcohol control law stood at the crossroads of review after 16 years of enforcement, Jetsada’s message was one of caution: any amendments should tread the line of tightening controls while bolstering preventive measures against the backdrop of a longstanding struggle.

In the shadow of the Pheu Thai headquarters, a collective plea for action and empathy was made, setting the stage for a legislative journey filled with the promise of debate, reflection, and, ultimately, transformation.


  1. SamJ March 25, 2024

    Finally, some real action against the drunk-driving menace! It’s about time they toughened up the laws. Too many innocent lives are lost because of lax regulations.

    • Mina H March 25, 2024

      While I agree with the need for stronger laws, we shouldn’t forget the importance of public health campaigns and education. Laws only go so far without changing the culture of drinking.

      • SamJ March 25, 2024

        True, Mina. It’s a mix of education, culture, and legality that needs a makeover. But tightening the laws is a step in the right direction.

    • grower134 March 25, 2024

      This is just another way for the government to control how we live. It’s a slippery slope from regulating alcohol to more intrusive laws. Personal responsibility should be enough.

      • Mina H March 25, 2024

        I see your point, but when personal choices affect the safety of others, shouldn’t there be some level of control?

  2. JohnDoe123 March 25, 2024

    Why are we comparing alcohol laws with cannabis policies? They’re entirely different issues with unique consequences and societal impacts.

    • Larry Davis March 25, 2024

      Actually, it’s quite pertinent to compare them. Both involve substances that can impair judgment and have been subjected to legal restrictions for public health reasons.

  3. RachelP March 25, 2024

    Paetongtarn Shinawatra stepping up for this cause gives me hope. It’s rare to see politicians genuinely care about public safety over profits.

    • TechGuy88 March 25, 2024

      Hope? Politicians are all talk until they actually pass meaningful legislation. I’ll believe it when I see real change happen.

  4. EveL March 25, 2024

    Reducing the number of drinkers from 18 million to 16 million over almost 15 years doesn’t sound like much progress to me. Clearly, the laws aren’t strict enough!

    • KenT March 25, 2024

      But you also have to consider population growth over that period, Eve. In that context, a reduction in drinkers is more significant than it seems.

      • EveL March 25, 2024

        Hmm, I hadn’t considered that angle. Still, more can be done to protect our communities.

  5. BikeRider34 March 25, 2024

    The focus should be on drunk driving, not controlling when and how people can buy alcohol. It’s about behavior, not availability.

  6. SarahConner March 25, 2024

    Are we not focusing too much on the problems and ignoring the possible benefits of a regulated, safe alcohol market? Prohibition never works as intended.

  7. LeoMatthias March 25, 2024

    Legislative changes are necessary, but without proper enforcement, they’re just words on paper. We’ve seen this story before.

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