…𝑹𝒐𝒚𝒂𝒍 𝑩𝒉𝒖𝒕𝒂𝒏 𝑷𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒔 𝒂 𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆-𝒘𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 7-𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚, 𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒉𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒃𝒂𝒕 𝒔𝒖𝒃𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒃𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒇𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈.
The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) have reported a total of 1,764 individuals involved in various drug-related cases during the period from January to July this year, marking the highest number of cases reported within a 7-month period.
Among these cases, 953 are directly linked to substance abuse, with 204 individuals apprehended for their involvement in illicit drug trafficking. The cases have emerged from 19 Dzongkhags across the country, excluding Gasa. Notably, four individuals have faced charges related to illegal drug sales, and two have been implicated in drug possession offenses.
Colonel Dorjee Khandu, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) leading the Narcotics Drugs and Other Vices Division, highlighted RBP’s significant strides in countering drug proliferation. He underlined the establishment of a field division and reinforced manpower as pivotal advancements in their anti-narcotics efforts.
Colonel Khandu highlighted the drivers behind illicit drug trafficking, citing quick financial gains and a lack of awareness about existing laws as primary factors. He noted a surge in marijuana-related cases, the illicit trafficking of pharmaceutical drugs, and the rise in solvents such as paint thinner and dendrite adhesive.
Efforts to address this crisis have extended beyond Bhutan’s borders, with the police division collaborating closely with Indian counterparts. This partnership has resulted in a more stringent and coordinated approach towards cracking down on drug-related activities.
The most commonly abused substances in the country include marijuana, pharmaceutical drugs, and solvents like paint thinner and dendrite adhesive.
The RBP urges all parents not to allow their children near construction sites, as instances of youth abusing paint thinner and dendrite adhesive have been reported in relation to these sites.
In a bid to enhance public safety and curb drug-related issues, the police have implemented random vehicle testing, employed trained narcotic-detecting dogs, and initiated room inspections in hotels and construction sites.
The comprehensive screening of drivers since May 29, 2023, revealed that out of 3,987 tested, 19 taxi drivers, 1 bus driver, and 44 other drivers tested positive for substance use. Their licenses were temporarily suspended, and they were directed to the PEMA Secretariat for counseling and treatment.
Various regions within Bhutan have witnessed the challenge of drug-related crime, with Thimphu recording the highest number of arrests at 269, followed closely by Phuentsholing with 242 cases.
As of August 1, mandatory testing has identified 274 individuals testing positive for drugs out of 4,173 tested. This diverse group includes bus and taxi drivers, private employees, government officials, students, and other drivers.
Presently, 616 individuals are imprisoned for narcotic trafficking, with males comprising 90 percent of the total and females making up the remaining 10 percent.
In the current year, the spectrum of substance abusers spans a wide age range, with the youngest individuals engaging in such activities at the age of 13. Notably, all of these individuals were male. Conversely, the oldest individual involved in substance abuse was 54 years old.
The RBP urges the public to collaborate and play an active role in curbing marijuana cultivation while also emphasizing the importance of reporting any suspicious drug-related activities to the hotline 113.”