Drug trafficking cases plummet in past three years

There were 293 cases in 2021

There is a drop in drug trafficking cases across the country in the past three years, according to the statistics maintained by the Crime and Operations Branch, Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) Head Quarter (HQ) in Thimphu.

From a total of 683 cases in 2019, the number dropped to 482 cases in 2020 and 293 cases in 2021.

Ugyen Tshering, the Officiating Director of the Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA) said, “There is a slight drop in drug trafficking due to the pandemic and the number has reduced in the past years.”

However, he said that the trend of drug trafficking is rising internationally, but the authority is optimistic to address their vision of being free of drugs and controlled-substance abuse.

“We are working in collaboration with different competent implementing agencies such as the RBP, Department of Trade (DoT), Bhutan Agricultural and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), and the Revenue of Customs. They are directly associated with the implementation,” Ugyen Tshering said.

Colonel Passang of the Crime and Operations Branch, RBP HQ, said it is the responsibility of all including different agencies, individuals, schools, and parents among others to fight against the menace of drugs.

“The drug menace is increasing day by day, month by month. The root of the drug cases are from karaoke, disco parties, and gatherings among others, and the consumption of illicit drugs is caught among the youths especially,” the Colonel said.

Every day, the BNCA receives around five to 10 youths, who are handed over by the RBP, for abusing drugs but not in possession beyond the quantity as prescribed in the schedule to give them support and treatment.

“There are treatment assessment panels consisting of health professionals, personnel with a legal background, and addiction professionals. They assess the severity of the clients,” said Officiating Director Ugyen Tshering.

Based on the severity, the clients are referred to the detoxification unit at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). If the assessment is mild and low, they will be given counselling at the BNCA’s office, said Ugyen Tshering.

“Even the parents are given the session on the effects of drugs so that they can give proper counselling, advice, and support to their children,” he added.

According to Colonel Passang, one reason for drug trafficking is due to the demand in the market. There are many drug dealers who are doing the business because of the big demand in the market.

Meanwhile, those engaging in the drug trafficking business include people within the age gap from 20 to 50 years old.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu