Bhutan Marked International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking With The Theme ‘Listen First’

This year, the United Nations celebrated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the theme ‘Listen First.’

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. (Source: Medindia)

 

By Chencho Dema | Business Bhutan

This year, the United Nations celebrated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the theme ‘Listen First.’

The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Bhutan, Gerald Daly said that as daunting as addiction problems are, each individual can do their part and take action.

Compassionate listening is encouraged as a way to fight substance abuse

He added that policy makers and also concerned citizens, parents, teachers and engaged youth can work together to prevent substance abuse and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that no one is left behind.

“I would like to urge each one of us, the next time you come in contact with a friend, partner, relative, or anyone else who might be struggling with addiction to listen from the heart,” said Gerald Daly.

“Compassionate listening is powered by generosity. It is a virtue we can grow so it becomes instinctive.”

The World Health Organization explains the term ‘abuse’ as a phenomenon where there is a maladaptive pattern and continued use of drugs despite experiencing persistent or recurrent social, occupational, psychological or physical problems.

Statistics of drug abuse in Bhutan

In a survey carried out in the Bhutan Vulnerability Baseline Assessment in 2016, an estimated 68% of the people who use drugs and substances get them from their peers and another 16% obtain drugs and substances through cross border exchange.

The Royal Bhutan Police reported that more than 98% of the arrests related to drugs were committed by youth while cannabis users account for 72% of the total number of drug users in Bhutan.

This year, in just two months (January to mid- March), 27 drug traffickers and 71 drug abusers were caught by the police in Thimphu alone.

The Thimphu police registered 287 cases in 2017 in connection with abuse, possession and illegal transactions of controlled substances that led to the arrest of 596 people, the highest in recent years.

The World Health Organization’s report (2017) on mental health status of adolescent in South-East Asia reports that Bhutan has the highest number of adolescents currently using marijuana at 12 percent among the 11 countries in the WHO South-East Asian region.

Caption: Queen Mother - Her Majesty Ashi Tshering Pem, graced the first National Baseline Assessment on Drugs and Controlled Substance use in Bhutan

Source: UNODC/South Asia

 

“These numbers are quite alarming for a small population in Bhutan,” said the Gerald Daly.

Meanwhile, the international community continues to face many problems that stand in the way of achieving the aim of a world without drug abuse. There is the opioid crisis and other urgent drug problems, compounded by gaps in health and social services that leave far too many people without the help they need.

Aims of establishing the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was established by the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen global action and cooperation.

“We at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are committed to working with the people of Bhutan to advance balanced, people-centred and holistic approaches to drug challenges, fully in line with the universal drug control conventions,” said Sonam Wangdi, National Coordinator for UNODC Bhutan.

Research suggests that early-to late adolescence is a critical risk period for the initiation of substance use. By breaking the chain of social, neurobiological and psychological factors and inequalities that can increase susceptibility to drug-use disorders, young people can be helped to grow up healthy and safe.

In his address at the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Paro on Tuesday, Gerald Daly said that by listening to the needs of children and young people, prevention can contribute to their safety, health and well-being and enable them realise their potential.

“All our societies would be better off if more resources were devoted to supporting evidence-based drug prevention strategies, which are a sound and effective investment in families, schools and communities,” said Gerald Daly.

“When we are talking about the lives and futures of the next generation, prevention is truly better than cure.”

The important role that we can all play by being compassionate listeners

A press release from the United Nations House states that every individual has a part to play in fighting the pain of addiction, as parents, policy makers, friends, teachers and individuals. Each and every individual must be compassionate listeners.

Parents have the most influence in helping children grow up happy and learn to cope well in difficult life situations. It is important for parents to leave the conversation-door open, so that children can discuss problems. A strong bond between children and parents is based on listening to them and showing care and love.

The press release added that we all need to be vigilant in showing compassion towards those who are still suffering, as well as anyone who is, or trying to fight addiction.

Pema Choden, who has been trying to help his brother fight drug addiction said that she realised that as human beings, judging others comes naturally in Bhutan when it comes to drug abusers.

“If we hold people at arm’s length and think of only the drugs they use and the ugly things they do, we will never be able to treat addiction like the medical condition it is and find compassion for those humans who are going through it,” said Pema Choden.

While it is obvious that the government has the responsibility to counteract both drug trafficking and abuse, communities can also make a major contribution. Families, schools, civil society and religious organisations can do their part to rid their communities of drugs.

Moreover, businesses can help provide legitimate livelihoods for ex-drug abusers. The media can also raise awareness about the dangers of narcotics.

“Our efforts to promote development and fight drugs and crime will be more effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the youth, civil society, governments and the international community,” states the press release from the United Nations House.

“Working together, we can alleviate the suffering of millions and break the hold of drugs and crime on countries, communities and families.”

 

This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.


Related Posts

Mountain Hazelnuts Ventures Train Unemployed Youth To Come Up...

Similar training programmes are in the pipeline and will be held in other eastern dzongkhags in future.

Jun 15, 2018 00:04

Innovative Ideas Pitched By Youth, Mostly School Dropouts, To...

The ideas, which are human-centred, are also expected to enhance national food and nutrition security involving...

Jun 05, 2018 11:04

220 Youth to be Employed by the National Housing Development...

The NHDCL has already announced 220 vacancies in different occupations through the ministry’s direct employment scheme...

Apr 13, 2018 21:50

Recognising the Potential of Youth

A positive approach that recognises the potential of youth and the optimal utilisation of this potential is explored in...

Mar 04, 2018 23:48

Youth Farming Cooperative in Chhukha

The cooperative invested in farming cardamom and off-season vegetables cultivation to meet the demands in the urban...

Feb 10, 2018 17:21

Bhutan Observes World Telecommunications And Information Society...

The theme of the celebration this year is “Enabling the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for all.”

May 18, 2018 14:27

Latest

News

Drukair Orders New Aircraft That's Equipped With Latest Visual Technology

The new ClearVision technology on the aircraft allows pilots to get a clear picture of the runway while landing the aircraft.

Jul 19, 2018 12:47

After 9 Years, The Amochhu Bridge In Bhutan Finally Opened On 14 July 2018

The driving distance between Phuentsholing and Samtse is now reduced to 57km from 81.2km

Jul 18, 2018 14:57

Features

Bhutan's climb to medicines safety

Pharmacovigilance is the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse drug...

Jul 17, 2018 14:31

11th Golden Youth Award Camp Aims To Inspire Bhutanese Youth To Excel Holistically

The camp’s theme ‘Celebrating Unity for Excellence’, is a pledge by the youth to be advocators and agents of peace, harmony and...

Jul 12, 2018 16:14

Sports

Future Of Bhutan’s Women Football Depends On The Development Of Local Coaches

The football coach of the national women’s team, Sung Jea Lee said that there is a need to train local coaches.

Jul 08, 2018 18:16

Bhutan’s Two Young Representatives Shared Their Unforgettable Experiences At The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Bhutan was represented by two students, Rigzin Tenzin, 12, from Gelephu and Kinley Deki Yangzom, 12, from Lobesa Lower Secondary School,...

Jun 30, 2018 14:06

Business

Cottage And Small Industry Which Saw 20% Growth Is A Pillar Of Bhutan’s Industry Sector

To date, the CSIs constitute more than 90 percent of Bhutan’s industry sector.

Jul 19, 2018 13:46

Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Has Generated Profits And Served More Than 500 Tourists And Locals Since 2016

The RBHS was launched with the primary objective of providing services during medical emergencies and natural disasters and also for tourism...

Jul 14, 2018 14:23

Travel

Heading To Haa, Bhutan For The Summer Festival? Here Are Some Culinary Delights You Must Not Miss!

Savour the most delectable cuisine from the province of Haa in Bhutan.

Jul 13, 2018 14:54

Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong Tshechu (Brawl Festival) In Bhutan

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the country,” said...

Jul 03, 2018 14:44

Lifestyle

Suja – Bhutanese Butter Tea Infused With Happiness To Kickstart Your Day

Traditionally, Suja is made from tea leaves, water, salt and yak butter.

Jul 17, 2018 17:19

Bhutan Film Festival Held In Sikkim To Commemorate 50 Years Of Bhutan-India Friendship Ended With Colourful Traditional Dances

Bhutanese celebrities and Sikkim’s local artists performed various traditional and cultural performances at the festival.

Jul 15, 2018 14:32

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!