To ensure that they do not relapse, Care Bhutan, a social enterprise has been providing aftercare support, considered the most crucial stage, to over 17 recovering addicts from this year.

Founder of Care Bhutan, Thinley Dorji said that he used to be an addict and that he understood the difficulties associated with being one. “Once, we are out of a rehabilitation centre, the real battle begins. Aftercare is important for them for a minimum of a year.”

He said that recovering addicts undergo detox and are placed in a rehabilitation centre but then there is no one to monitor after. The social enterprise, he claimed, is the first to provide aftercare support.

Thinley Dorji said that recovering addicts are stigmatised and labelled as thugs, bandits, and alcoholics and some even terminated from jobs. “It is difficult for them to get a job.  If they are not provided proper guidance and support, they could easily land up behind bars, and would experience relapse.”

Two of his staff stays with nine youth at a shelter home in the centenary park to monitor and provide guidance. Apart from recovering addicts, Care Bhutan also takes care of youth who has nobody to look after them.

Phurba, 20, had been living with Care Bhutan for six months now. “They keep us engaged here with programmes. I feel that the most important thing for a recovering addict is to not go back into using substances.”

He said that everyone wants to have a good life and that supporting one in getting employed could be a way. “I want to continue my education next year,” he said.

Thinley Dorji said that some parents have expressed gratitude to them and the way their children have turned out. “They are involved in other activities and then they do not know how to provide care and support for them.”

Another recovering addict who didn’t want to be named said that when he is at the shelter, he gets the feeling of being with a family. “I like it here although it’s just been a month since I got here.”

People addicted to substance abuse behave like a child as most of them get addicted at a younger age, which affect their brain development, he said. “They are emotional and get easily depressed. They need care and help.”

The recovering addicts meet every Tuesday to shsare their experiences, discuss possibilities of a new life and the help they may require. The youth are also provided counselling.

Care Bhutan, a social enterprise had conducted marijuana uprooting initiative engaging over 900 youth and a ‘Hope Festival’ engaging over 300 youth.

Some recovering addicts are running two cafeterias from which they earn their livelihood. For the cause of helping destitute youth, Care Bhutan was established last year on September 15.

Rinchen Zangmo