Drug abuse a mat­ter of great con­cern

Bhutan Times - - Home - Biku Gu­rung

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.

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