A problem

Last Friday, an MP asked the health minister, Lyonpo Zangley Dukpa, what his ministry was doing to address the growing problem of drug abuse in our country. In his response, Lyonpo Zangley informed the National Assembly that, in 2008, a total of 418 people had been arrested for drug abuse. And that, in the same year, in 2008, 132 drug dealers had been arrested and charged in our courts.

Now look at the numbers. 132 drug dealers and 418 drug addicts were caught in the same year. That’s only 3.17 drug addicts caught for every drug dealer caught. And that can’t be right. The average drug dealer must surely have many more customers. And so, 132 drug dealers would actually cater to several times the 418 drug addicts who were caught.

But consider this: no one really knows how many drug dealers there actually are in our country. It’s obviously more than 132. And, obviously, the greater the number of people selling drugs would mean that we have an even greater number of people using them.

And consider this: in the last month alone, Thimphu police arrested 57 drug abusers.

We have a problem.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Yes, we do have a problem and a BIG ONE if there are anyone listening. Our laws need to change to penalize the drug dealers in a more severe manner. It is not acceptable for people to take advantage of making money dealing in drugs spoiling our kids. Just like the penalty for antique dealers robbing chortens or temples, our government should have life imprinsonment for the drug dealers. It is absolutely not acceptable to ahve them prey on our helpless teens. I would like to plea with law makers to amend this law for drug dealers and pass it as life inprinsonment. I am sure all other readers will agree with me.

  2. I share the same concern that Romeo expressed when it comes to Drug peddlers. If the Prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are the real drug dealers working for profit and easy money then such people should be given the highest imprisonment. This is because they have no right to spoil the lives of our youths and our people.
    But as the citizens of Bhutan we must also think carefully why the number of Drug peddlers are increasing? Who are they afterall and will the highest imprisonment deter such crimes in the country?
    As the honourable OL has mentioned the number of Drug dealers and drug abusers will be much more higher than what the Health Minister has presented.
    And what is more worrying is that we have lot of Acts,laws and rules mentioning so many things but to my knowledge we have no treatment or correction centres,rehabilitation centres for the drug abusers. actually all this should be there as the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic substances and substances abuse act has been passed since 2005. Govt should first take care of such institutions and professionals instead of trying to criminilize our own citizens.

    And a clear line should be drawn between Drug abusers and drug dealers. They cannot be treated as same. Drug abusers are infact victims and not criminals and they need our support. These are just my opinions and I am positive that Govt. will do everything for the good of the country and its people.

  3. Very interesting case!!!!!!! Since the ban is failing, let us legalize drugs too. [The most ridiculous argument I have ever heard.] Going by the argument of NC, I think it is better for us to legalize drugs and charge around 200% tax so that the government gains revenue. Let us just legalize it and resort to educating youngsters not to take drugs.

    If the argument of NC is even valid, let us legalize hunting of endangered species, fishing, theft, chorten vandalizing, etc. Those acts are illegal yet thriving everywhere. Let the government collect high tax from those who are involved in those businesses.

    The recommendation of NC to set a age bar for smoking is just as inapplicable if not more than ban on sale of products. We don’t usually carry ID cards and there is no way of knowing the age of a person. Just look at the age limit of entering a discotheque. The moment you enter inside, there will be more minors than adults. Look at the dry days [Alcohol free days]. Is it being observed? I am sure OL knows about it[Try to recollect!!!]

    The reaction to black market is not legalizing the sale but more strict regulations and actions. What we need is more political will and guidance.

    • DemiJunior says

      I totally agree with Sonam. The NC debate and its pitiable conclusion that lifting the Ban would solve the problem, as i agree, was the most ridiculous conclusion, unbecoming of NC, which has even some eminent members appointed by the highest figure.

      Why does the Ban fail? We should study and put into places corrective measures, as suggested by Sonam, regulations and stricter rules, incentive for enforcing agents and needless to mention, general education to instill respect for law.

  4. Ha..ha I think the NCs should have a session on the topic.. lets murder a person and collect 500% tax. That would be intresting.

  5. This problem is HUGE for a small country…if not late its high time we do something very very serious to address this issue…its hitting the most economically active members of the soceity. The bubble is getting bigger and bigger…lets do something about this before we become a retarded soceity. How can a country grow economically when its most important and basic resource is not even utilized. I am seriously concerned with this…and is willing to try my best in my individual capacity to address this problem.

  6. Tshewang says

    The ratio between our population,drug dealers,drug addicts….i concider it as “BIG” issue…for the DPT govt..do something. why it is increasing higher day by day..it was unhealthy for DPT government for not attending question hour by upper house.For me question hours is very important for healthy democracy.Upper house consits of intellectuals —-govt can get good feedback to enhance country developemnt.

    why drug abuse is increasing..???

    1. unemployment..class x and XII nothing to work accept roam and create problem.. Govt has to increase more VTI’s..these dropouts should be given employment.I thank Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay to introduce…be somebody.
    2.Free access to jaigaon and marujuna grass available abandon in country..counter this ASAP.
    3.More youths go India to study. why not Thimphu college reduce the fees(make parents to pay in installment) and intake more students. Government should be give opportunity to introduce more private colleges if Thimphu college capacity is full. Education Ministry should be given Kelki,Rinchen, Nima or any private companies like Tashi or Singye to introduce more private colleges in Bhutan …but fees should be resonable..then our youths will study within Bhutan.. and you know that our people’s money remains inside..that good part for economy of the country.In Darjeeling and Kalimpong i found students have more time to freak than study. iam not talking about schools like North point, st paul, SAS, Homes. These are good schools and most students are decent and not drug abusers. iam talking about colleges.
    4. all schools should have hostels facilities(if govt. cant run it should be leased out to private).In Thimphu i fould most of youths who are studying in Kelki,Rinchen and Nima stay outside in rented house.If govt introduce hostel facilities then drug absue will decrease. Trade license should be given to private to run hostel facility.
    5.Night live in Thimphu..inreasing in random phase. The Government should ban night live for students.
    6.All check points.. Our Police only check for small vechiles not prado or land cruseier.Government should install scaning machine in all main checkpoints.
    7.In all schools there should be subject on “Drug Abuse”.Educating students from beggining.
    8.Divoice case is high in Bhutan..because its easy to pay.The penalty should increase according to money value. Thease days Nu.50,000 is nothing.More divorse more drug abuse…vice versa.
    8.More activities for youths during holidays. Youth center was good part in Thimphu. Govt should open more youth centers in all dzongkhags depending upon the population size. You cannot built in Gasa.
    9.BBS should telecast live discussion on Drug Abuse every week or monthly. Main focal person should be from schools..i mean student,education ministry, health, Police and parents.
    10. Since more drug abusers are there..Govt should open rehabilitation centres in Thimphu/Phuentsholing/Tashigang.
    11. Drug dealers should be given life imprinsonment.
    12. Long time back most schools like Punakha Kanglung college & Khaling were run by Jesuits.. it was perfectly good. they dont have intension of converting faith..i think most of ex-students agree on this issue.

    The above measures should be taken into concideration if Govt. want to counter drug abuse in our small beautiful country.

    i thank for Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay for launching his website where very citizen can express their views.

  7. outofthebox says

    “9.BBS should telecast live discussion on Drug Abuse every week or monthly. Main focal person should be from schools..i mean student,education ministry, health, Police and parents.”

    This is interesting issue. I would like to tell something. IS Media awareness really helping to solve the problem or destroying the innocence of our rural youths. In remote villages, for example, Marijuana is grown in wild abundantly, but no one knows what it is and how it is consumed. I remember people used to feed pigs with it so that it grows fat. Now with so called media awareness, we show on the TV not only what that Marijuana is but also how it is prepared and consumed. This sort of issue when exposed to media pollutes the innocent and tender minds of our youth. I think we should debate the role of media in the awareness campaign against drugs and substance abuse. I think more has to be done to punish those trafficking drugs rather than running an “unintended commercial for selling Drugs” to our youths.

  8. dorji thongja says

    I think Health Minister should provide answers as regards the rehabilitation, treatment and education and awareness initiatives, not about the arrests made. I know he is the chairman of the Bhutan Narcotics Control Board and his response in a way indicates the ineffective approach to a growing drug problem in our country. The drug problem can only be solved with a multi-prong strategic approach. We need to create awareness on the harmfulness of drugs with the support of the experts. Just saying that taking drugs is harmful is not enough to convince the mind of youths. We should not consider drug addicts as criminals and undertand why they take drugs in the first place and treat the root causes. We need to define the problem well. We need to look from the point of supply reduction, demand reduction and rehabilitation and treatment of those already into drugs. Just seizing few strips of N-10 and few bottles of Corex will not succeed in the long run. We need to explore other options such as using the help of religious leaders to counsel the youth. Many people do not smoke because smoking is sinful as per Buddhism. The enforcement agencies need to collaborate well in the so called land of inspectors (Phuentsholing, Gelephu and S/Jongkhar). I believe so far seizures are made in Tanalum only when reports are received from Jaigaon.

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