Counseling and life skills for prison guards and inmates

Training: The number of people abusing and trafficking controlled substances are increasing every year despite stringent laws, additional chief of police, Colonel Chimi Dorji said during the closing ceremony of a training of prison guards and inmates at the Thimphu district prison yesterday.

Of a total of 1,629 people convicted of abusing and trafficking controlled substances from 2013 till date, police records show that 219 were students.

Some 42 civil servants, 22 tourist guides, 18 private security guards, 15 private employees and a teacher are on the list.

Colonel Chimi Dorji said that about 188,537 Spasmoproxivon (SP) capsules were seized since 2013, toping the list of abused controlled substances in the country.

Police also seized 16,688 and 585 tablets of Nitrosun 10 (N10) and Relipen respectively.

About 1,654kgs of marijuana, 3.23kgs and 959 grams of hashish and brown sugar were also seized among other controlled substances.

A psychiatrist with the national referral hospital, Dr Chencho and Dr Major Sonam Tobgay from Lungtenphu military hospital trained some 19 inmates and four guards on basic counselling and life skills.

During the four-day training, the participants were educated on basics of drugs and addiction, helping relationships, coping skills, how to deal with negative peer influence, and relapse prevention, among others.

Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority deputy chief programme officer, Dorji Tshering said that there is no rehabilitation facility for the inmates and the authority wants to provide the facility within the lock-up.

Dorji Tshering explained that in many cases, convicts involved in abusing controlled substances are found to have low self-esteem. The training is expected to help boost the inmates’ self esteems so that when they are released, they can make their life better and live well

“After the training, it is expected that the inmates help and counsel their incoming friends,” he said.

An inmate, Gyembo Dorji said that the training is a source of inspiration for the inmates. “The training will act as a guide for people like us and help us understand the complicated way of life.”

Gyembo Dorji said that after his release from the prison, he will have an advantage and will move a step towards success.

“The next time a problem arises, I will have the structure, policies and guidance to make the right decision,” Gyembo Dorji said. “I realised that I had the skills in me. The training helped me recognise myself.”

BNCA in collaboration with the Royal Bhutan Police, provided the “Training of Peer Helpers and Prison Guards on Basic Counseling Skills and life Skills.”

Dechen Tshomo

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