English | Dzongkha Thursday, December 12, 2019

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed

Kipchu, Sonam Penjor, Choni Dema
Jun 27, 2019

Over eighty per cent of the drugs in the country are intercepted at Phuensthogling. In order to tackle this issue, it has become important for the people from Phuentshogling and neighbouring town of Jaigaon in India to come together for a common solution.

A day-long programme was also conducted to observe the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Phuentshogling yesterday.

Jaigaon Women’s Welfare Association, police and a private group named Jaigaon Bless Foundation along with the relevant stakeholders and recovery support groups from Phuentshogling observed the day. The participants were engaged in public sensitization, pledge signing and educational program among others. Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority and regional trade office also conducted advocacy and inspection program in the town. The Road Safety and Transport Authority also conducted drug tests across the country.

“The main reason was we wanted to bring together the people from both the sides and work out with a common solution. So that we can reduce the incidences of drug supply and abuse,” said Phuntsho Wangdi the Director General at Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority.

A similar program was also conducted in Bumthang. The Youth Development Fund’s Nazhoen Pelri Drop In Centre along with volunteers and police personnel went around various offices, hotels, hospital and training institutes to advocate on prevention of substance abuse with special attention on alcohol consumption.

Alcohol consumption is a major issue in Bumthang according to health officials. Alcohol is generally available in abundance in Bumthang. There are 195 bars in Bumthang alone, of which 120 of them are within Bumthang town. The district also has a high number of entertainment centres such as 13 snooker halls, 6 Drayangs, 4 karaoke bars and 3 discotheques. In addition, the various hotels and resorts in the district take the number of places that sell alcohol to over 300.

“To be honest, alcohol consumption is a huge problem in Bumthang. Not many consider alcohol as a drug. If we take a look at hospitals and also check police records, there are so many cases related to alcohol consumption. That’s why we have given special focus on overcoming alcohol consumption and its affects this year,” said Lham Dorji, a Peer Mentor at Nazhoen Pelri Drop-In Centre, Bumthang.

On a wider perspective, police records show that there were more than 4200 arrests made in the last 5 years related to drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the country.

A similar awareness programme was also conducted in Thimphu. More than 150 working parents and officials participated in the awareness programme.  The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking this year was observed on the theme, Health For Justice and Justice For Health. The day was first observed in 1989.

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