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Students, temple novices nabbed for drug abuse

22 teenagers arrested in separate raids

Novices caught taking drugs at a temple in Buri Ram's Non Dindaeng district are expelled before being entered into a drug rehabilitation programme.

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Twelve teenage students and ten temple novices have been arrested in separate raids and sent to drug rehabilitation programmes, local authorities said.

The raids, which took place in Uttaradit and Buri Ram, followed complaints by frustrated residents.

The students, nine males and three females aged 16-19, were rounded up at a dormitory in Muang municipality in Uttaradit on Tuesday night. Some of them were still in uniform.

All admitted to taking methamphetamine and marijuana. They were sent to Muang police station for questioning, where they agreed to enter a drug rehabilitation programme.

In Buri Ram, 10 novices aged 13-19 were forced to leave the monkhood after local authorities walked in on them taking drugs in a monastery in Non Dindaeng district.

They tested positive for drugs and admitted to substance abuse, authorities said.

The novices claimed they had bought the narcotics from a former monk who had recently been arrested. They had raised 4,500 baht between them to buy 30 more methamphetamine pills, but the plan was thwarted by their arrest.

They were expelled from the monkhood and sent to a drug rehabilitation centre.

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