Youth: To enable individuals to deal effectively with demands and challenges of everyday life, the Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority (BNCA) provided life skills training on substance use prevention to some 30 youths who are vulnerable to drug abuse.

Enhancing self-esteem, communicating effectively, decision making skills, being assertive, resisting negative peer influence, and coping with stress were some of the topics covered during the three-day training that ended yesterday.

BNCA deputy chief programme officer, Dorji Tshering, said that the trainers used the Life Skills for Youth – a drug abuse prevention training manual produced by the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme.

The participants were also educated on the provisions of the NDPSSA 2015 and tobacco control amendment Act of Bhutan 2014, based on experiential learning and small group exercises.

Dorji Tshering said that while the participants were active and showed keen interest in learning throughout the training, the trainers have left no stones unturned in imparting the required skills and knowledge.

A high school student, Karma Zeopa Dorji, said that the training had provided him with ten core life skills that are categorised into social, thinking and emotional skills.

Zeopa Dorji said that he’d share the information that he had received from the training with his friends. “The knowledge will help me and my friends make better decisions in our lives.”

Another participant, Kinga Gyeltshen, who is a recovering addict, said that the training helped him gain courage and boost his self-esteem.

“Attending the programme kept me occupied and it helped me stay clean for 72 hours,” Kinga Gyeltshen said.

The effective acquisition of life skills can influence the way the participants feel about themselves, the way others perceive them, their productivity, self-confidence, self- esteem and inter-personal relations, Dorji Tshering added.

Meanwhile, another recovering addict, Dawa Norbu said that skills like decision-making, coping with stress, problem solving and coping with emotions made him understand that what he did is bad. “I will not get into drugs again.”

Deputy chief of police, Colonel Dorji Wangchuk, during the closing of the event, explained to participants that it is important for them to have tolerance and patience and be able to judge if a decision is good or bad.

“You should have compassion towards your relatives, friends and the victims of drug abuse and help them revive themselves to become a responsible citizen,” Colonel Dorji Wangchuk said. “In Bhutan, there are so many opportunities. Explore the opportunities.”

BNCA director general, Phuntsho Wangdi, said that the training benefitted the participants and encourages the authority to conduct more such programmes.

Phuntsho Wangdi urged the participants to make optimum use of their life skills knowledge to help others who are into drugs and also those who are vulnerable to drug abuse.

The director general awarded certificates to the participants that include volunteers, recovering addicts and youths that are recommended by the Royal Bhutan Police, yesterday.

BNCA in collaboration with the RBP conducted the life skills training on substance use prevention for youth.

Dechen Tshomo