KP Sharma

The last year saw the highest number of individuals apprehended in drug-related incidents in the past five years. 

The arrests related to substances increased more than double in 2023 compared to 2022, according to police records. There was a surge of 2,112 arrests for drug-related cases in the country last year compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the police recorded 721 cases, resulting in the arrest of 1,557 individuals, while in 2023, the numbers escalated to 1,920 cases, with 3,669 individuals apprehended. 

Despite the twofold increase in numbers, the police attribute the surge in arrests to heightened vigilance and the implementation of an integrated check post (ICP) along the highway, enabling more comprehensive inspections.

Among the various drugs, Spasmo Proxyvon, Corex or Recordex, and Nitrosan continue to be the most commonly used pharmaceuticals, while solvents such as thinner, dendrite, and correction fluid are also prevalent.

There has been a rise in arrests related to cannabis during the past year.

According to records, police confiscated 243,849 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon, 2,401 tablets of Nitrosan, and 203 bottles of Corex.

In terms of solvents, police seized 188.1 liters of thinner, 550 grams of dendrite, and 12 correction fluids. Similarly, the police confiscated 14.97 kilograms (Kg) of cannabis.

Except for Spasmo Proxyvon, the seizure of all other substances has shown an increase compared to the previous year.

The records also reflected that Thimphu registered the highest number of cases at 732, resulting in 1,506 arrests, followed by Phuentsholing with 539 cases and 740 arrests.

Wangdue and Trongsa were the only police divisions where drug cases did not see an increase last year, unlike the rest of the divisions.

Last year, police arrested 2,830 individuals for substance abuse, with an additional 60 apprehended for the illegal sale of inhalants, 38 for the illegal possession of substances, and 741 for engaging in illicit drug trafficking. These figures indicate a noticeable surge in cases compared to the previous year.

Of those arrested, 1,758 individuals were above 25 years, 1,551 between 18 to 24 years, and 360 below 17.

All three categories witnessed a significant increase compared to the statistics from the previous year, 2022.

In addition, it also initiated nationwide mandatory drug tests, targeting various sectors including professional driving license (PDL) holders, government vehicle operators, military personnel, and private drivers, all aimed at curbing the drug cases in the country.

In response to the growing concerns surrounding drug-related crimes, the police established field divisions and bolstered its manpower last year, aside other initiatives in place.