English | Dzongkha Wednesday, January 20, 2021

BNCA records less drug abuse cases compared to last year

Dec 3, 2020

The rise in the cases of drug abuse has been steady over the years. However, this year, the total cases of drug abuse in the country have decreased compared to last year. According to the Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA), the decrease is due to intensive patrolling and non-availability of some controlled substances.

To date this year, the police apprehended more than 700 people and handed over to BNCA for treatment and necessary actions.

As per the report maintained with BNCA, there is a decrease in the number of people who underwent and are undergoing treatment. Last year, the number of drug abuse from across the country was almost 1,000 and this year till October, it is 725.

And according to the BNCA’s Director-General, Sonam Dorji, the pandemic-forced border closure could be one of the reasons. “It’s mainly because our border is sealed, there is less infiltration. So that could be one of the reasons. And then secondly, it could be because of the non-availability of the pharmaceutical medicines in the country which is not even registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority, so availability even in the hospitals of these drugs is not possible,” he said.

He added, to further curb the smuggle of these pharmaceutical drugs, the authority will discuss with the Royal Bhutan Police to control the source.

“We are going to have a discussion with the Royal Bhutan Police as to how they will share information, how we will gather information so that we will also know the source and then we can have a dialogue with our counterparts to control the source. And secondly now along with that, we are trying to diversify our prevention program especially the drug supply prevention program,” he said.

Other than the pharmaceutical drugs, today, most clients referred were for cannabis. As per the report, the maximum abusers are students and unemployed group with age ranging between 18 to 25 years.

“It is due to availability in the country despite organising uprooting of marijuana plants in many pockets of the country but still some of the places are not covered. Moreover, there are restrictions from the National Biodiversity Centre in uprooting marijuana because they as Nature Conservative Body they feel that they may lose our domestic species, so now we are trying to work out. We are thinking to do mapping and have a consultation with the National Biodiversity Centre as to how they would want us to carry out this activity in spite of the huge group of abusers of cannabis,” he added.

This year, including drug abusers, there is a total of 957 offenders recorded with the BNCA. As per the severity, they will be referred for either treatment counselling or for brief intervention.

Pema Seldon Tshering

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