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BNCA claims drug testing as major achievement

Of the total 39 success indicators for Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA), four were achieved, 35 were on track, and none were at risk.

This was presented during the mid-year review of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) yesterday in Thimphu.

BNCA’s director general, Phuntsho Wangdi, said BNCA is not entirely a health sector and that it has equal responsibility in law enforcement, and providing social services. “The focus had been on capacity development of law enforcement agencies and health professionals such as counsellors and doctors.”

Instituting preventive treatment and rehabilitation programmes are also carried out as the autonomous organisation had limited reach across the country, he said.

He said that aftercare services, which are crucial after treatment, had been lacking in the country.

BNCA trained about 1,200 teachers based in Thimphu and Phuentsholing on early detection skills to help identify students and help them treat addiction.

APA report also stated that BNCA trained about 2,000 parents on drug education in Thimphu, Paro, Gelephu, Phuntsholing, and Samdrupjongkhar.

Phuntsho Wangdi said that numerous Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were developed. “Institutionalising drug testing was one of the biggest achievements. The purpose of the test is not to identify people and punish them but to protect our society.”

He said that early detection could help in early treatment of the addiction.

Drug testing had been instituted in Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority, Bhutan Postal Corporation, Road Safety and Transport Authority, Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Civil Service Commission, and Punatshangchhu Hydroelectric Power Authority.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that gradually, it would come to a time when everyone would have to get tested for drugs. “Youth and students will also be careful while abusing substances if they are aware of such drug testing programmes in place.”

He said that ad hoc drug testing is different from that of people who abuse substances in public space adding that the ad hoc testing is an opportunity to correct and treat.

Phuntsho Wangdi said that resource constraint remains an issue.

Of the released budget of amount Nu 26.892 Million (M), BNCA spent Nu10.203M.

He pointed out that sometimes, some agencies go on spending spree when some budget is left, after the required works are completed.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that it is not acceptable when agencies spend to use leftover budget on things that are not necessary. “The budget that is acquired with much difficulty should not be spent on unnecessary things.”

Rinchen Zangmo

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