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Over to parents and teachers

The health minister Tandin Wangchuk sent a very important message at the most appropriate time when calling on parents to help curb the drug problem.
The country is overwhelmed with the rising drug problem. We may not be talking about hardcore drugs, but the substances that Bhutanese- young and old- abuse is bad enough to spoil life.
It is increasingly becoming the biggest problem in the country. In fact, it has already become the worst social ill. This is evident from the figure with the authority. Going by the records with the police, there is almost a case handled almost everyday. And this is happening even as the police are becoming more vigilant and strict. For instance, in Phuentsholing 80 percent of the crime reported is related to drugs.
What is more worrying is that more and more young Bhutanese are getting hooked to this problem. The figures are scary. According to reports, the average age of people who abuse banned substances is 16 years. Another worrying news for parents is that 67 percent of the university graduates admitted to having used their pocket money to buy drugs.
In this light, the health minister calling on parents to lend their hands in nurturing and monitoring the younger generation is most appropriate.
Like the minister said, it is high time, if not late, to redefine the roles of parents and teachers in helping nip this issue in the bud. According to the minister, studies show that when parents monitor their adolescents closely and have good knowledge about their whereabouts, adolescents are 20 percent less likely to use harmful drugs. The children of parents that have a warm parenting style and know where their children are and what they are doing, are five times less likely to experiment the use of stimulants or controlled substances.
Parents need not be told about this, but this is a good reminder with statistics. We cannot leave it to the police alone. In fact, police taking over the problem should be the last resort. We are talking about our sons and daughters, nephews and nieces. Without parental care, children, especially in the urban areas can always fall in the wrong group.
Urban places like Thimphu and Phuentsholing see a lot of young people living with their relatives to study or do odd jobs. Without proper guidance and care, children are vulnerable.
Teachers can play a bigger role, as theirs is more effective. Not only do young children spend a lot of time in school they fear the teacher more than their parents. The fear comes from respect. Quite often we see young children believing in their teacher more than their parents. Their counseling are quite effective.
We are challenged in controlling the banned substances from entering our country. Given the porous border and the easy money involved in drugs, controlling it is difficult. What we can do to control it by not availing it. Parents and teachers can convince the young to not avail them by properly guiding and nurturing them.

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