31st May, 2007

Students uprooting marijuana plants: Not a part of national campaigns

Students uprooting marijuana plants will no longer be a part of national campaigns against drug and substance abuse. The Department of Youth and Sports has issued a circular to stop engaging students to uproot marijuana plants, which grows in abundance almost everywhere in the country.

“I am in full favor of uprooting marijuana but it is not the job of school children,� said the director of youth and sports, Dasho Sonam Tobgay Dorji.

Although no feedback has been received nor any studies conducted to test the impact of this programme, a head master nodded in consent of the recent circular.

“Stopping school children from uprooting marijuana plants is a good idea because by engaging them to do it they get exposed to it,� he said.

The department of youth feels that counseling and remedial services would be a better way to tackle the problem than getting children to uproot the plant.

According to Dasho Sonam Tobgay Dorji, the department is creating an environment with facilities like internet, music and play grounds which would draw children from all walks of life. A counselor would also be stationed for those who are willing to come and talk about issues bothering them. It is scheduled to start in Changjiji immediately.

The department is also planning to have a rehabilitation center at Gidakom to help addicts.

The programme to uproot marijuana begun in 2005 after the Ministry of Education decided to curb the issue by ‘uprooting the evils of substance abuse’ in society.

“It was just a gesture to talk about the ill effects of drugs,� said the executive director of Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency (BNCA), Kinley Dorji.

The community participation was very symbolic, he told Kuensel. The uprooting campaign was supported by parents, teachers, police and army personnel. Marijuana is often cited as the gateway drug or the starting point for most substance abusers.

However, the noble intention did not quite achieve its objectives. With the porous border and the easy supply of drugs into the country, curbing substance abuse has proved to be more complex.

Kinley Dorji said that the uprooting programme was initiated to educate and make society aware instead of letting innocence and ignorance prevail.

He pointed out that there was a dire need to educate and involve parents in advocating this issue. “Family education is important to give emotional support and school education to direct them in life,� said Kinley Dorji. “Children usually do drugs when they are neglected by parents and friends, when they are unemployed, to gain confidence, and because of influence of other cultures.� Source: Kuenselonline

Responses

Please do not uproot those plants. Why is Bhutan so full of marijuana? What do the spirits think of uprooting marijuana? How long has this way of acting toward these plants been a custom?

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