2,578 drug abusers arrested in past three years
44% of them were youth
Drug abuse has been escalating over the years.
In a span of three years (2016-18), 2,578 drug abusers including 928 peddlers were arrested.
The number of drug peddlers recorded so far are 875 male and 53 female. Of this, 198 youths were involved in drug abuse in 2016 which increased steadily to
475 in 2017 and 473 in 2018 till date
totaling 1,146 or 44% of the abusers.
Also, easy accessibility to drugs at the border is making it difficult for the police to stop their lethal influx.
In the last three years, the Royal Bhutan Police seized 341,240 Spasmo proxyvon plus (capsules), 15,153 Nitrosun (tablets), 1232 Corex (bottles 100ml), 22 Correcting fluid/diluter (bottles 60ml), 38.97 Thinner (Liters) and 550 Dendrite (g). Police also seized 1130.37 Marijuana (kg) in a span of three years from 2016 to 2018.
Given the porous border and the fact that entries and exits from the gates at the border towns cannot be monitored for drugs given the traffic and the number of vehicles plying the road every day, it is difficult to check every vehicle, said Colonel Tshewang Rinzin the Superintendent of Crime Division.
He also mentioned that the police have to rely on information from sources based on which they conduct searches and arrests.
Peer pressure, unemployment, school dropouts and easy money have been listed as the top reasons for the increasing number of drug abusers and trafficking according to police.
Colonel Tshewang Rinzin said laws against drug abuse are stringent after the amendment. “Basically it is all about how one monitors the suspects and advocacy to curb the issue,” he said.
Over the past 10 years, from 2001 to 2010, a total of 17 people have died due to overdose in Phuentsholing followed by Thimphu with 13 people, three in Punakha, and one each in Trashigang, Gomtu, and Bumthang. In 2011, four cases were reported across the country with three in Phuentsholing and one in Thimphu.
In 2012, eight drug overdose cases were reported across the country with one case each in Paro, Sarpang, Lhamoizingkha, Samdrup Jongkhar, Gedu, Thimphu and Pasakha.
One case of overdose from Darjeeling was reported in 2008, one from Siliguri in 2009 and one from Chennai in 2010. Police officials claim that many more cases of drug overdose in India and Bhutan go unreported.
Year 2016 recorded two drug overdose cases while last year and this year till date no case of drug overdoses has been reported.
Seeking anonymity, a 24-year-old recalls how he survived drug overdose. “The experience was horrifying. I realized the value of my life only when I saw my family members crying in front of me. I regret the moment when I started abusing marijuana when I was in college. But I am glad I was able to stop and I am clean today.”
Bhutan recorded its first drug abuse case in Gelephu on June 29, 1989. The suspect was then caught abusing marijuana. The suspect was a male.