A TAP for drug offenders

With increasing drug offenders across the country the Treatment Assessment Panel (TAP) in Thimphu is overburdened resulting in delayed treatment.

This is causing inconveniences to the RBP and to family members who have to escort the clients to Thimphu from other dzongkhags.

To speed up treatment services the Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency (BNCA) will decentralise the clients’ assessment to the regional level. TAP will now be instituted in the regions of Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Chhukha (Phuntsholing), Sarpang (Gelephu) and Mongar next month.

Meanwhile, of the 229 clients referred by RBP this year for assessment in Thimphu 86 failed to report for assessment.

Chief program officer of BNCA, Nima Damdul, said the list of the clients was sent to RBP.

As of now, there are no rules or laws are made for the clients who failed to report for assessment. “What we can do is, if the same clients were caught and brought back to assessment than the treatment assessment will be double, which means they will extend the days for the assessment,” he said.

Till date, RBP has referred more than 500 clients or suspects to Thimphu to the TAP from across the country. This year, of the 229 clients referred by RBP, 100 were students. 184 were referred for counseling and seven for rehabilitation.

As per the Narcotics Act 2015, people apprehended by the RBP for substance use must be provided treatment services. The new act recognizes addiction as a “Brain Disease” requiring treatment.

TAP is a specialized committee to assess severity of substance use level of clients referred by the RBP and provides appropriate intervention. Based on the clinical assessment clients are referred to rehabilitation centers.

Those who are not dependent are referred to Drop-in-Centers (DICs) for counselling. Drop-in-Centers  have been established in the major towns in the country. Minors and school students are referred to School counsellors for counselling in schools and institutions (University).

The clients are given lessons on basics of drugs, the science of addiction, ill effects as well as laws related to substance abuse and trafficking. Individual counseling, as well as group and family counseling, are also conducted. Relapse prevention skills are also imparted.

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