FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Alternative facts matter
Posted:Jul 13, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Bhutan’s struggle with rampant use and abuse of controlled substances is a national issue. It is no secret that the ban on tobacco has cultivated a black market that law enforcement agencies are unable to crack. Yet, we appear to be in denial.
 
Recent developments show that we are struggling with facts and figures. We dispute the happiness ranking and question the credibility of institutions that conduct surveys. The labor ministry took it even further by questioning its own methodology in conducting labour force surveys.
 
Now, we have the Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority issuing disclaimers. It claims that the high use of tobacco at 29 percent and marijuana at 12 percent as reported in a health survey are incidents of one time use and not of regular use. It further claims that the problematic uses of tobacco and marijuana in schools are about 6.6 percent and two percent respectively.
 
Raising such concerns and clarifications are important. But it is still problematic when the main agency that is responsible to control controlled substances takes consolation in its figures that report a low incidence of tobacco and marijuana.  The health ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted the health survey. Just as BNCA, these institutions are the authorities in their own right. If we accept WHO awards and take pride in our claims of having eliminated measles, it could be problematic when the same organisation’s report is questioned, if only to defend one’s own findings.
 
BNCA’s survey was also conducted in schools and, save for the key findings, it has not yet published or released its report. It is hoped that the agency has not also kept this report under lock and key just as it has kept safe the report of crewmembers that tested positive for controlled substances. If it must defend its findings, it must share its report. Its mandate is to control the use and abuse of controlled substances, not to control information that are important to people. It must worry as much about the one time use of tobacco and marijuana among students as it does about those who are regular users.
 
But more than going on the defensive and issuing disclaimers, our institutions must start accepting alternative facts. The issue here is not so much about who is saying what, but about what is being done about the drug problem that has gripped the lives of so many of our young.
 
That BNCA is the lead authority with the mandate to address the issue of substance abuse in the country is not questioned. But in battling the drug menace that is robbing the country of its present and its future, the priorities of agencies dealing with the problem must align. 
We must work collectively. We must look beyond institutional differences when issues of public health concern arise. We must accept that we have a problem, a grave one that is, just as those dependent on controlled substances are counseled to accept. Institutions such as the BNCA cannot personify the denial syndrome, which consume those abusing drugs.
 
Kuensel Online, July 14, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
Senior representatives from the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan met in Muscat, Oman, on Monday to revive stalled peace talks with the Taliban, but the insurgent group failed to participate in the meeting being held after a year.
 
read-more
Ruskin Bond’s first novel ‘Room on the Roof’ describes in vivid detail how life in the hills around Dehradun used to be. Bond, who is based in Landour, Mussoorie, since 1963, captured the imagination of countless readers as he painted a picture of an era gone by.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
Braid-chopping incidents have added to the already piled up anxieties of Kashmiris. Once again they are out on the streets, to give vent to their anger. A few persons, believed to be braid-choppers were caught hold by irate mobs at various places. They were beaten to pulp.
 
read-more
China has witnessed great historic changes in the past five years from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to the upcoming 19th CPC National Congress.
 
read-more
In a move lauded worldwide, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud recently issued a royal decree allowing women to obtain driving licences.
 
read-more
Recently, United States President Donald Trump kicked the onus of the US backing out of the Iran nuclear deal to the US Congress. The question is how we interpret this technically, in terms of domestic politics and in terms of geopolitics.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive