Buddhist monks lead an austere life – actually. The monks and the abbot of a Thai temple have now tested positive for methamphetamine. The residents now fear that they will no longer be able to fulfill their religious duties.

Methamphetamine instead of meditation: Because of positive drug tests, all monks of a Buddhist temple in Thailand have been sent to withdrawal. The four monks, including an abbot, at a temple in rural Bung Sam Phan district have tested positive for the synthetic drug, official Boonlert Thintapthai said. The monks were therefore sent to a clinic for drug withdrawal.

“The temple no longer has any monks,” said the official. The residents are therefore concerned that they will no longer be able to fulfill their religious duties, for example by providing the monks with food. Therefore, other Buddhist monks would be sent to the temple. Thailand is a major transit country for the illicit methamphetamine trade.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the drug is manufactured in Myanmar’s troubled Shan state and then smuggled into Thailand via Laos. There, a meth pill can be bought on the street for less than 20 baht (0.54 euros). In recent years, authorities in various South Asian countries have repeatedly seized record amounts of methamphetamine.