Various programs will be explored and identified to ensure that students are engaged not just with the police but also in other volunteer works or some temporary jobs this winter, Home Minister Damcho Dorji said during the ‘meet the press’ session, Friday.
Lyonpo stressed on the need to identify the causes of youth related crimes in the country and address them accordingly.
“Alcohol addiction, drugs and other criminal offenses especially burglary has been a problem but it is not new to Bhutan. I think it is very important to understand and underline the causes of these problems,” Lyonpo said.
Lyonpo also said youth related problems could be rising due to lack of attention from the government or society. “We are engrossed in developmental activities and therefore have little time and resources to ensure that our youths are equally taken care of and protected from all the socially adverse influences,” he said.
Lyonpo noted that unemployment problem has been one of the contributing factors. He said alcohol abuse has caused many domestic violence issues which eventually affect the children who resort to taking drugs.
“So unless we address the fundamental causes, it’s not going to be resolved,” he said.
Lyonpo also commended the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) for coming up with initiatives to engage youth in meaningful work and at the same time educate them.
He also mentioned recent substance abuse awareness programs and signature drive to petition for harsher penalties on drug peddlers.
Lyonpo said figures of arrested drug pushers and dealers or abusers derived from a recent police operation are alarming. He said most of the drugs involved are prescription drugs which are not illegal and easier to acquire. This, he said posed a challenge to law enforcement agencies.
He said that youth problems cannot be addressed by the police alone but would ultimately require the care and cooperation of the family. He also said several other stakeholders and agencies were involved in dealing with youth issues.
Lyonpo also agreed that there are no stern laws currently against drug peddlers. However, he also questioned if harsher laws would make any difference to drug abusers who are addicted.
Lyonpo said “we need to rehabilitee these people where they can get proper treatment besides counseling. So this is something that the government seriously looks into and will take actions as soon as possible.”
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said the government shall do its best through various ministries, autonomous agencies, federations and non-governmental organizations to keep youths productively engaged during the vacation.
“Ultimately it is the responsibility of the parents and guardians to ensure that they are productively engaged in during the winter vacation. The government will do our best in partnership with various agencies but we ultimately call parents and guardians to discharge their responsibility of looking after their children. This will be the surest way of ensuring our children do not get into problems during the vacation,” Lyonchhen said.