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 Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, is a former top diplomat who retired as India's Permanent Representative at the United Nations. In his new political avatar, as an important minister in the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Puri told INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS that
 
read-more
Chief of General Staff, United Kingdom, Gen Sir Nicholas Carter’s, visit to India in mid-February was covered by Defence Ministry releasing five photographs and not a word on his engagements/itinerary, writes Anil Bhat
 
read-more
Campus placement season is here and the news is that graduates from the top campuses in India, especially the IITs, have received six figure pay packets and job offers in the US. However, looking beyond the top 200 engineering schools in India, pay packets are not looking too promising. The reason is the emergence of new engineering sc
 
read-more
The largest military exercises in Southeast Asia concluded on February 23 in Thailand, after 11 days of drills, social and humanitarian projects and traditional jungle training. A total of 11,075 soldiers from 29 countries participated in the Cobra Gold 2018 training, held in eastern Thailand, reports Efe news.
 
read-more
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen “conveyed that mediation was not wanted at this stage” when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to him last week, Guterres's spokesperson Stephane Dujrric confirmed Thursday, writes Arul Louis
 
read-more
Srinivasan leaves his office in Bengaluru where the lights and air-conditioners are switched off when sensors planted inside notice that he is leaving. He is prompted on his e-watch as to how much time it would take for the elevator to arrive on his floor, based on movement-recognition, writes Rajendra Shende
 
read-more

The Indian government is undertaking a project to enhance and install infrastructures related to trade and customs along its northeastern frontier, that include trading points with Bhutan.

 
read-more

Society for Policy Studies in association with India Habitat Centre held a lecture in the “China's Belt and Road Initiative: Nature, Implications and India's Response”

 
read-more
Column-image

What is history? How does a land become a homeland? How are cultural identities formed? The Making of Early Kashmir explores these questions in relation to the birth of Kashmir and the discursive and material practices that shaped it up to the ...

 
Column-image

A group of teenagers in a Karachi high school puts on a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible— and one goes missing. The incident sets off ripples through their already fraught education in lust and witches, and over the years ...

 
Column-image

Title: Do We Not Bleed?: Reflections of a 21-st Century Pakistani; Author: Mehr Tarar; Publisher: Aleph Book Company; Pages: 240; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

From antiquity, the Muslim faith has been plagued by the portrayal of Muslim men regularly misusing this perceived “right” to divorce their wives instantly by simply uttering “talaq” thrice.

 
Column-image

'Another South Asia!' edited by Dev Nath Pathak makes a critical engagement with the questions about South Asia: What is South Asia? How can one pin down the idea of regionalism in South Asia wherein inter-state relations are often char...