BNCA to establish compulsory treatment center

Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority (BNCA) will soon establish a compulsory treatment center in country for substance abusers in need of rehabilitation to overcome their addiction.

This will take the number of rehabilitation centers in the country to three.

The two existing ones are in Serbithang, Thimphu, which can take in 16 male and 8 female for a fee of Nu.3000 a month and inSamzang Retreat in Paro with an intake of 16 male for a fee of Nu.5000 per month.

The existing centres can take in only 40 clients in three months (treatment duration) but we see increasing pressure from other voluntary clients at time,” said BNCA’s Program Officer of Demand Reduction Division, Karma Tenzin.

The centres receive two types of clients: voluntary client, who go for rehabilitation on their own without having to route through RBP, while the other are Treatment Assessment Panel (TAP) clients who are referred to BNCA by RBP.

The objective of the TAP is to assess the severity of a person’s substance use and provide appropriate intervention. TAP consists of clinical experts, professional counselor, addiction professional, legal officers and is chaired by BNCA.

Some of the TAP clients come from poor families who are not able to afford the rehabilitation fees. The centres can take in only two to three TAP clients in three months as voluntary clients occupy most seats.

The compulsory treatment center will be only for TAP clients. “If possible we are planning to establish before June this year,” said Karma Tenzin. “For two to three years, we will hire a building after that we are planning to build a structure.”

There are seven Drop-In-Centers (DICs) in Paro, Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Gelephu, Mongar, Bumthang and S/Jongkhar for counseling.

The Serbithang rehabilitation is run by YDF while a Samzang retreat is run by Chethuen Phenday Association and takes in only male clients.

From July 2015 to February 2017, BNCA has received 254 clients. The offenders were arrested by RBP for the offence of Substance Abuse and later referred to BNCA.

After the enactment of Narcotic Drugs, Psychoactive Substance and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Act July 2015, 330 clients were referred by RBP across the country.

In line with the provision of the Act the suspects apprehended for the offence of substance abuse are referred to the Treatment Assessment Panel.

“Those who are not dependent on substance abuse are referred to Drop-In-Centers (DICs) for counseling and minors and school students are referred to school counselors.

Clients who have mental disorders are referred to the psychiatric department for professional help.

Thimphu police said that in March alone, they forwarded 27 youths to BNCA who needed assistance to overcome addiction. They were arrested for abusing substances.

All 27 were aged between 15 to 28 years and most said they abused drugs due to peer pressure.

As per BNCA 44 clients were referred by RBP from across the country out of which one was a female in March. 17 clients were assessed during 13th TAP meeting on march 10, and five were referred to schools for counseling, 8 to DICs for 1 month to 3 months and 3 were referred to rehabilitation centers. One client who had mental disorder was sent for psychiatric help to JDWNRH.

The clients are being given educative sessions on basics of drugs, science of addiction, ill effects as well as laws related to substance abuse and trafficking. Relapse prevention and coping skills are also imparted to the clients.

If the client is a repeated offender or a repeated client availing the services for many times, the client will be dealt as per section 153 and 154 of NDPSSA Act 2015.

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