All four monks at a small Buddhist temple in northern Thailand were defrocked after reportedly failing drug tests.
The monks, which included an abbot, allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday, a local official told international news agency Agence France-Presse.
As a result, the temple — located in Bueng Sam Phan, a district located in Phetchabun province — is temporarily vacant.
"The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making," district official Boonlert Thintapthai told AFP, referring to a practice that involves donating food to monks as a good deed.
All of the monks have since been sent to a health clinic for drug rehabilitation, Thintapthai told the news agency.
Additionally, the official said the local monastic chief has promised to assign more monks to the temple, reported the BBC.
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According to a recent report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, methamphetamine trafficking has surged in East and Southeast Asia, including Thailand.
As the supply has grown, street prices in Thailand have dropped to record lows, the agency reported. According to AFP, pills can be purchased for less than 20 baht, which is under a dollar.
Getty Monks praying
"The drop in the price of crystal methamphetamine is particularly concerning, as it has become much more accessible and available to those that could not afford it before," Kavinvadee Suppapongtevasakul, a UNODC regional synthetic drugs analyst, said in a press release.
Thanakorn Kaiyanunta, Deputy Secretary-General of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board of Thailand, said in the release that "addressing the methamphetamine situation is a top priority for the Government of Thailand and the region."