Service: With the launch of the “Guidelines for Accreditation of Drop-in Centres and Treatment cum Rehabilitation Centres in Bhutan,” last month, the Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA) will now accredit drop-in and rehabilitation centres in the country.

Hereafter, those who wish to establish drop-in and rehabilitation centres in the country need to meet criteria.

BNCA director general, Phuntsho Wangdi, said that BNCA as a regulatory authority, is mandated to look into matters related to narcotics, drugs, psychotropic substances and substance abuse, its prevention, treatment and care as well.

BNCA has been authorised to oversee the process of granting an institution or community the permission or accreditation to act as a drug treatment centre and also supervise the performance of these accredited centres.

“These roles of the authority are guided by rules and regulations set for the purpose in coordination with other rules and regulations of the country,” Phuntsho Wangdi said.

Any agency or a private individual interested in working in the field of drug treatment can apply to BNCA for accreditation of a drop-in or a treatment cum rehabilitation centres in the country.

A new centre that has not yet started functioning can apply for a provisional accreditation, which will be valid for a period of nine months. After completing six months of services, the centre will be re-evaluated as a functioning centre.

Likewise, a functioning centre that has been operating for at least six months can apply for operational accreditation. If approved, the accreditation will remain valid for a year.

BNCA deputy chief programme officer, Dorji Tshering, said that it is time to ensure that the quality of services provided by drug treatment centres in the country is evaluated.

Dorji Tshering explained that accreditation is required to ensure that an approved drug treatment centre in the country engages in providing drug treatment services and meets certain institutional standards. The centres need to provide drug treatment services which are approved scientifically based on evidence in a manner that upholds the health, social-legal and human rights of individuals seeking treatment in the centres.

Phuntsho Wangdi said that the guideline would help ensure standardised drug treatment services being provided across the country.

The conditions for applying for accreditation, the documents to be submitted when applying, the procedures for accreditation, among others, are included in the accreditation guidelines.

Currently, there are three rehabilitation and seven drop-in centres in the country.

Dechen Tshomo