Drug abuse a matter of great concern
It is of great concern the drug related problems in Bhutan has been on the rise since the late 1980s and has been seeping into the social fabric of the Bhutan cutting across all sections of the society irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds.
The ‘drugs’ and their use constitute a serious threat to the health, safety and well being of all our citizens especially the youths. The impacts of drug use affect not only those who abuse drugs, but also their families. The drug use epidemic is in its early phase in Bhutan and its link with HIV is yet to be explored in-depth.
“Drugs gave me the wings to fly but took away the sky,” Pema 26 from Wangdue Phodrang said.
Drugs related story of Wangmo (false name), she said,“I hated myself terribly. I was a teen- age alcoholic, a 14 year old girl who desperately wanted to become a woman. My parents did not get along. They would fight and I would be real scared. I prayed that they would quit drinking and fighting, but they never did.
She also said “When I was 18 years old my parents got divorced and I had to stay with my mother. I aspired to be every boy’s fantasy and every girl’s best friend. I wanted to be the best but instead I found a skater boyfriend, lost my virginity and skipped tryouts to drink cheap wine with the boys in the neighborhood.”
She said those first few drinks brought me peace and feeling of belonging to the human race. I sold my soul to alcohol, threw away my dreams, and broke all promises to everyone, including myself. When I drank, the boys liked me, I had more confidence, and I feared nothing. I could only complete my 12th grade said Wangmo.
She added, “Later I had no care from my mother and started staying with the boys. I started with some unwanted business and could earn a lot. Quickly, though, my newfound solution became my worst nightmare. When I drank, I blacked out and came to people I did not know, came to backyards and in strange homes.
I started taking other drugs. I was worn out, and at 22 attempted sui- cides. Finally my mother put me through Rehab. This is the place where I got changed.”
Now she is really proud of herself and works in one of the offices and earns to make her living.
As the drug-HIV link was one of the issues explored under the assessment, BNCA partnered with the Ministry of Health and Royal Government of Bhutan. The study is expected for prevention as well as mitigating of the impact of drug use friends and the country as a whole.
However, there are lots of initiatives taken by the government authorities to overcome the drug related issues by establishing Rehabilitation centers now at Serbithang in Thimphu under YDF which was established in 2009. There are now separate Rehab Centers for male and female patients. In the year 2012 the Chithuen Phendey Association another Civil Society Organization came up with a new Rehab Centre in Paro.