The BNCA under its new mandate to treat drug abusers received 55 clients in seven months out of which 52 are male and three are female. They have assisted 30 clients and the rest are undergoing treatment. They have been sending them to drop-in centers, rehabilitation centers and the psychiatric ward in JDWNRH.
They started taking in drug abusers after the implementation of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSSA) 2015 from 20th July 2015.
Deputy Chief Program Officer, BNCA, Dorji Tshering said that, this treatments are given to those who are in need of treatment. It is to ensure that they are not criminalized and that nobody leaves without getting the proper treatment.
BNCA takes those who test positive at the time of arrest. However, if the abuser is found carrying drugs beyond the quantity mentioned in the Act then they will be charge-sheeted to court.
He said, “We don’t have a treatment center as such but we have put up the proposal to the government and we are expecting to have something in place by July 2016”.
He also said that, “To begin with the plan, we will rent a house or building at the outskirts of Thimphu whereby we can conduct our program.”
Currently the work with rehab centers in Serbithang where they will keep some slots for compulsory clients.
They assist the person and see if they need compulsory treatment as there are some do not required the three months rehabilitation program.
They have probation for adult and minor. For adult they have four terms, whereby in the first term they will be sent for a minimum of three months counseling and rehab. For second time, they should undergo for treatment for not less than six months, in third time it is not less than one year whereby they have to give community service. In the fourth time, they will be charged for misdemeanor which is one to less than three years of imprisonment.
Similarly, for minor, if they are booked for the particular offence than they will be sent back to school where they have a trained counselor and the mandatory counseling is two weeks. If the minor is a school drop-outs than they will be send to the nearest drop-in centers.
In second time, they will have to stay not less than 1 month, third time not less than 3 months and for the fourth time, not less than one year where they will be sent to YDRC in Tshimasham.
The challenge that they face is, the compliance is not good for those who are referred to drop-in centers for the treatment. “We sometime get a call from the concerned authority saying that they could not get hold of the abuser which becomes difficult for us to do the follow up”, he added.
He also said that, the other constraint is limited seat available in the drop-in centers and in rehab centers. If center is put in place than they do not see any difficulty and can provide and conduct all the programs in the center.