Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) under Chhukha Dzongkhag has registered 158 drug-related cases in 2018. The registered cases are inclusive of both drug abuser and illegal transaction of controlled substances.
For larger quantities of drugs, the dealers have started shoving the drugs inside suitcases to avoid any suspicions. It is also reported that they use vehicle parts and even intimate parts of the body to hide and deliver drugs without detection.
The Division Superintendent of Police (SP) Lt Col Wangchukla said that it is important to at least have enhanced security checks at all entry and exit check-points to get hold of the drug users or the peddlers.
The fact that large amounts of drugs are caught in Thimphu and other parts of Bhutan show that a lot of still getting through the Phuentsholing-Thimphu route.
“Despite conducting random checking in entry and exit check-points and highway surprise checking, suspects somehow manage to skip our grip. Nevertheless, we are trying our best”, said the SP.
Chukha Dzongkhag has a total of five police stations (PS) located in Tshimasham, Gedu, Phuentsholing, Pasakha, and Lhamoyzingkha. In total, they have arrested 214 people, of which 11 are female while 203 are male.
Of the five PS, Phuentsholing PS recorded the highest with 99 registered cases out of 133 total arrests, followed by Gedu PS with 32 registered cases with 44 total arrests. Likewise, Tshimasham PS has registered 24 cases with a total arrest of 34 people. Lhamoizingkha recorded the least with 3 registered cases with a total of three total arrests. However, Pasakha PS did not have a single case.
Of the total arrest, the maximum number of arrest was made in connection to drug abuse while the rest for was for the illegal transaction of controlled substances.
Police have seized 47,912 capsules of SP+, 2723 tablets of N10, 36 kg of marijuana, 132 bottles of corex, 19 grams of hashish, 16 numbers of diluter and a half litter thinner from their possession.
In addition, apart from controlled substances, police also have seized 96,824 grams of Baba tobacco, 9, 800 sticks of Navy cut cigarettes, 160 sticks of Bedi, 7.200 kg of Nevla tobacco, 176 gums of wills and 35 gums of Biri.
The SP said that drug-related cases are increasing every year and can be attributed to numerous reasons.
He said that most of the arrested abusers are youths who are currently studying.
“They are into such activities because parents usually let their children flock in town without much supervision. The other reason could be due to lack of attention to their children and lack of monitoring,” he added.
“Another reason could be due to peer pressure. Most importantly, they have easy access to controlled substances from across the border,” added the SP.
He said, “Some of the parents are least bothered and even if their child goes missing, they still think it is all right not to report to police but that is usually when their children mingle with drug dependents and start indulging into drugs.”
“During the interrogation, one of the common responses from the youths is that they first got into drugs during their experimental age and got addicted thereafter. They tend to increase the dose every day where it has found that abusers consume around 25 tablets of SP+ in a day. They are risking their lives this way.
Therefore, I think parents can play important role in preventing their children from getting into such activities”, he added.
He also said that more could be done to address drug-related issues in the country like coming up with more rehabilitation centers, independent agencies and an increase in the number of counselors to help cut down the case.
Ministry of Education has been initiating various programs to engage youths during vacation, which is one way of keeping youths away from drugs. “Initiating more of such programs would really help. Awareness of drugs law could help in bringing down the case too”, he added.