Thukten Zangpo

The experts estimated an economic loss from drug-related arrests last year at Nu 538 million, said Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay during the 2nd meet-the-press held on March 29.

It must be noted however that the actual economic loss might be even greater.

According to police records, last year marked the highest number of individuals apprehended in drug-related incidents in the past five years.

The arrests linked to substances more than doubled in 2023 compared to 2022. 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. 

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.

Lyonchhen, who is the chairperson of the National Drug Task Force, said that the increase in the numbers of arrests are because of the heightened vigilance by the police, especially comprehensive inspections in the border towns. 

He added that the government would adhere to His Majesty’s concern and focus on policy of zero tolerance to drugs because drug abuse not only affects the individual involved but also has far-reaching consequences for their families and society as a whole.

Lyonchhen said that all the relevant stakeholders like police, parents, teachers, the PEMA Secretariat and hospitals, among others, must come together to fight against drugs.

To address the challenges with the drug-related problem, he said that it is important to create awareness in schools before an individual abuses it. “We are considering implementing drug tests for every student in schools.”

Lyonchhen also said that there are plans to upgrade the prison and provide the necessary skills and other programmes.