Two of the 385 Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE) selected candidates who underwent a mandatory pre-employment drug test for recruitment into the civil service tested positive.

The test, which was done in collaboration with Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority at the Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu since December 20, ended yesterday.

An official with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) said the two candidates have the right to appeal to the commission. The commission will verify if the candidates are under any kind of medication. No details were shared for confidentially and ethical reasons, according to officials.

“Otherwise, the candidates will be disqualified for employment in the particular year and the seat will be offered to the next candidate in line,” the official said.

The candidate will be allowed to reappear the civil service examination the following year and follow the same process for recruitment. “But, this would be subject to clearing medical fitness and drug test again,” the official said.

The test, according to RCSC officials, is conducted to support the national effort to deter drug use and maintain a drug-free civil service. The requirement is an addition to the medical certificate of fitness that is required for recruitment into the civil service.

BNCA official said the test is also to identify those who are dependent on controlled substances and to give treatment accordingly.

The candidates are required to provide urine samples and the test was done with a test kit. The results are shown within three to five minutes after the test is done.

The test kit detects about 10 different types of non-permissible listed drugs including marijuana, ketamine, cocaine, benzodiazepines, tramadol, opiates and propoxyphene.

BNCA official said the test kit costs Nu 385 and the urine container costs Nu 14, which has to be borne by the candidate.

A candidate, Lhakpa, said the test is a good initiative to deter youth who are into drugs to quit if they want to join the civil service. “Those who intend to try drugs will think twice because the repercussions are serious. It’s a matter of your career and life.”

Lhakpa said he heard that the candidates would be again tested after they complete their training at the Royal Institute of Management. “The repeated test costs money and we have to bear the costs.”

However, the RCSC official said it is yet to decide if the candidates would be tested again before they join the civil service.

Dechen Tshomo