Counselling service for people with substance abuse disorder

Chhimi Dema

Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA) has been providing online counselling service to people in the quarantine centres as part of the Authority’s Covid-19 response.

The Authority’s deputy chief programme officer, Sonam Jamtsho, said that the Authority initiated the programme upon the advice from the national mental health and psychosocial response team.

He said that there were reports of people in the quarantine centres who were dependent on alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse were suffering withdrawal.

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Sonam Jamtsho said that the clients would be given a set of questions to rate themselves on the severity of dependence on illicit substances, alcohol and tobacco. If the clients do not report honestly during the screening process, there is no way of knowing the severity of their dependence.

After the screening process, counselling services are provided using an online platform—Zoom.

The Authority has also revived the nicotine substitution programme to help those in quarantine centres suffering from withdrawals and to help them quit tobacco.

Ministry of Health’s Tobacco Cessation Guideline was developed to build skill and competence among health workers to provide tobacco cessation services.

The Authority provides nicotine patches and gums to help tobacco cessation.

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