YK Poude

Going by the reported cases, 2022 was the year with the highest number of people involved in drug-related cases in the last five years. The number of people arrested for drug-related cases in the country increased by 430 cases last year compared to the previous year, records with the Royal Bhutan Police show.

In 2022, drug-related crimes amounted to 19.9 percent of all criminal activity. In terms of particular forms of drug crimes in 2022, substance abuse accounted for 78 percent, followed by illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances at 36 percent.

Crimes related to drugs recorded for 2021 and 2022 were 331 and 761 respectively.

Deputy Chief of Police, Colonel Passang Dorji, said that the problem of substance abuse has spread across the country, and unlike other cases if RBP does not actively monitor it, there won’t be many coming forward to file complaints.

“There is a dedicated drug division in Thimphu, Bhutan Food and Drug Authority. RBP would establish more sub-stations along the southern borders as a measure to curb drug abuse and illicit trafficking,” he said.

According to police records, over 700 youths between the age of 18 and 24 years were involved in drug-related cases last year.

The most commonly abused narcotic, according to the police, is cannabis or marijuana. Thimphu recorded the largest number of young people involved in drug cases.

The year-to-year record there were 484 cases in 2018, which shot up to 668 in 2019. 2020 saw a slight decrease at 530 cases which dropped to 331 cases in 2021.

Almost 2,700 drug-related cases were reported to the police in the past five years.