2,578 drug abusers ar­rested in past three years

44% of them were youth

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Chen­cho Dema from Thim­phu

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.

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