Of the 32 individuals that the Thimphu police arrested for possessing and abusing controlled substances in April, 10 have been detained for illicit trafficking.

A total of 436 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon Plus (SP+) and 467.8 grams of dried marijuana leaves (Puriya) were seized from the suspects.

Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) referred the rest who were apprehended for abusing controlled substances to the Treatment Assessment Panel (TAP).

The TAP, consisting of a medical doctor, legal officer, addiction professional and counsellors, will assess the severity of a person’s substance use and provide appropriate intervention.  A board member of the Narcotics Control Board chairs the panel.

The clients are referred to a rehabilitation centre only if he or she is found dependent on controlled substances. Otherwise, they are referred to drop-in centres for counselling.

Of the 22 individuals aged between 17 and 32, six are students, 12 unemployed and four are employed.

In the month of May alone, the RBP referred 44 people apprehended for abusing controlled substances to the TAP. A police said that some of the suspects are repeated offenders.

The offence of illicit trafficking of controlled substances is a felony of fourth degree, which is imprisonment of three to five years imprisonment or third degree (five to nine years), depending on the quantity determined in Narcotic Drugs, Psychoactive Substance and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Act of Bhutan 2015.

BNCA’s programme officer with the Demand Reduction Division, Karma Tenzin, said that a total of 29 individuals were assessed by TAP in January and February this year. Nine of them are students and 12 are unemployed that include class 12 and university graduates.

Police stations across the country referred 330 clients to the TAP since the enactment of the NDPSSA Act in July 2015, which requires the suspects apprehended for substance abuse to be referred to the TAP for assessment.

Dechen Tshomo