Bhutan is recognised for its development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which places the well-being of people above gross domestic product. However, over the last few years, the number of patients with mental disorder seeking help from the health care system has grown significantly throughout the country.
Growing drug- and alcohol-related mental health problems are having a clear impact on Bhutan. Policy makers and other professionals claim Bhutan is not progressing at the same speed as the rest of the world and that lack of modernisation, which is leading to limited opportunities and social dislocation, is part of the reason Bhutan is experiencing this spike in substance use and harm as a result of addiction.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobay says:
"The adverse health and economic consequences of excessive alcohol use to individuals, families and society are well documented...The prevalence of alcohol consumption is increasing and poses a serious threat to our collective wellbeing."
The National Policy and Strategic Framework To Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol 2015-2020 outlines the situation and strategies that have been introduced to try and tackle the growing concerns.