If authorities are finding it an uphill battle to curb the illicit trade of banned substances, it is the easy money that is encouraging people, especially young, to risk being imprisoned.

Many assume that joblessness is driving people to the illicit trade. It is not. The lure of easy money is enticing people to the illicit trade. If lucky, one could escape with a year’s earning of a salaried person from one episode of smuggling.  A box of SP capsules, the most abused or traded drug, can fetch five times the amount they pay to suppliers across the border. For many young people, especially the unemployed, it is worth risking the risk. It is just too lucrative a chance to ignore. This is the one reason why the fight against drugs or substance abuse has been and will continue to be  a major challenge.

It is thanks to the increased surveillance and the efforts to curb smuggling or peddling of banned substances if we feel that the crime rate is increasing. The improved surveillance have intercepted many, potentially serious, incidents. As long as suppliers in Jaigaon can hoodwink our authorities, or as long as banned substances remain a lucrative source of income, smuggling and peddling drugs will continue to be a problem. Curbing it will always be a challenge to authorities.

Many of those indicted or caught in the illicit trade do not belong to the underprivileged – jobless, homeless, or those without income. Some of them are rich landlords or with stable and high-paying jobs. In fact, those with money are encouraging or pulling the strings to luring more to get into the business without knowing the impact on the society. For a supplier in Jaigaon, a profit of Nu 100 per strip of SP, for instance, is more important than the thought of where the consignments land or who consumes them. He will not care if young Bhutanese are affected.

Abuse or smuggling of drugs like  SP has become a national concern. Whether it is the easy income from the illicit trade or spoiling a young Bhutanese generation does not matter to those supplying or enticing more to get into the trade. This,for us, it is a concerning issue that demands priority.

If the increasing cases is a cause of alarm, what is not being reported should be a cause of bigger concern. Those in the trade say that for every arrest made, there are four escaping the hands of the law.

In other words, the greed for easy money is driving the illicit trade that could drive a nation or its young people into a serious problems. While we appreciate the Royal Bhutan Police for the increased number of arrests , we cannot leave it to the police alone. Knowing that abusing substances is a threat to our youth,  it is our collective responsibility to fight this growing social spectre.