Chencho Dema

Punakha — Sonam Dorji, Kabisa gup and thrizin, proposed a noteworthy initiative, suggesting that all local government (LG) representatives in the dzongkhag undergo compulsory drug testing. The objective was to set a positive example for the people of Punakha.

Yesterday morning, LG representatives, including 11 gups, 11 mangmis, and 55 tshogpas from Punakha’s 11 gewogs, gathered at the police station to support the idea and voluntarily undergo drug testing. Encouragingly, all participants tested negative for drugs.

Sonam Dorji emphasised the importance of leaders being not only clean but also acting as role models in their communities. “This way, we can supports law enforcement agencies in their mission to encourage people to undergo drug testing, contributing to the larger goal of ending drug use in the country.”

Expressing his commitment to the cause, Sonam Dorji announced the imposition of compulsory drug testing for those aged 18 and above in all the gewogs. “And we hope that this initiative will inspire LG members across the nation to follow suit.”

In an interview with Kuensel, some of the tshogpas and mangmis who underwent testing voiced their support for this novel effort. Goenshari mangmi, Phub Tshering, said that he can now actively address drug-related issues in his village and lead by example.

Similarly, Yangchen Dema, tshogpa from Gubji, emphasised the importance of the test even if one doesn’t use drugs. She came from her hamlet to show support for the initiative.

Punakha, while emerging as a new hub for trafficking controlled substances, has reported 32 cases of drug abuse involving users and traffickers from 2022 till August 15, 2023.

With a total of 33,049 residents, the local leaders’ proactive stance against drug abuse sets a positive tone for the community and may contribute to addressing this issue in the Dzongkhag.