A Qualitative Study of the Risk Factors Leading to Substance Use in Bhutanese Youth


  • Dechen Doma Samtse College of Education., Royal University of Bhutan
  • Ian Wickramasekera I


Bhutan, Substance abuse & Dependence, Risk factors


Substance abuse and dependence among the youth population in Bhutan is already a huge concern for the Bhutanese family system, society and the country as a whole. Youths, who accounts for 60% of the total population of Bhutan are considered the future leaders of the country (National Statistics Board [NSB], 2017). Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify the factors that lead youth to substance abuse and dependence in Bhutan. This study sought to explore an in-depth understanding of the risk factors that are associated with substance abuse and dependence among Bhutanese youth. Interview data were collected through semi-structured interviews from 28 participants adopting a qualitative research methodology. The study revealed that factors such as peer pressure, family environment and easy accessibility played an important role in drug use and addiction among the participants. Other factors such as curiosity and low self-esteem have also contributed to participant drug abuse. To the researchers’ knowledge, the present study was the first qualitative study on this topic to be conducted in Bhutan.

Author Biographies

Dechen Doma, Samtse College of Education., Royal University of Bhutan

Dechen Doma is a visiting researcher at Shukutoku University, Japan. She heads the Centre of Contemplative Counseling Education and Research and teaches Counselling at Samtse College of Education. She has a Master in Counseling, Health Sciences from Curtin University, Western Australia and is a certified supervisors in counseling in Bhutan. She is also the Board member of Bhutan Board for Certified Counsellors.

Ian Wickramasekera I

Ian Wickramasekera II is an Associate Professor within the Department of Transpersonal Counseling at Naropa University in Colorado, USA. He is the author of over 50 articles on counseling, humanistic psychology, hypnosis, indigenous wisdom traditions, meditation, and mind/body medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and Science Editor of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.




How to Cite

Doma, D. ., & Wickramasekera I, I. (2021). A Qualitative Study of the Risk Factors Leading to Substance Use in Bhutanese Youth . Bhutan Journal of Research and Development, 8(1). Retrieved from https://bjrd.rub.edu.bt/index.php/bjrd/article/view/46