Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is planning to revive a controversial anti-drugs campaign which reportedly killed 2,500 people.
Mr Samak would not set a target for how many people might die
Mr Samak, elected in December polls, promised a decisive, and quite possibly bloody campaign against drug dealers.
He said he would use the same ruthless tactics as his political patron and predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.
"I will not set a target for how many people should die," said Mr Samak.
"We will pursue a suppression campaign rigorously. There will be consequences."
While Mr Thaksin's 2003-2004 campaign enjoyed popular support and did, briefly, curb Thailand's rising drug problem, it resulted in some 2,500 deaths.
Human rights groups accused police of extra-judicial killings, saying many of the dead were later proved to have been innocent.
Mr Thaksin always denied any wrongdoing.
A government investigation into the drugs war, launched after Mr Thaksin was deposed, concluded there was no evidence to take legal action against the former premier for the deaths.
Mr Samak defended both Mr Thaksin and the police, saying the drug-dealers had turned on each other.
"The drug traffickers were killing each other so that authorities would not be able to question them and track down their big bosses," he told reporters on Friday.
"If they were innocent, why were they killed?"
On Wednesday, Thai Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the new campaign would go ahead, even if thousands had to die.
Police were accused of extra-judicial killings in the 2003 crackdown
"When we implement a policy that may bring 3,000 to 4,000 bodies, we will do it," said Mr Chalerm, himself a former police captain.
The target of the new drugs crackdown is the illegal methamphetamines industry.
Many of the drugs are made in neighbouring Burma, and smuggled into Thailand and beyond, says the BBC's Andrew Harding in Bangkok.