Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: Constituent Assembly Vice Chairperson Purna Kumari Subedi today expressed support for harm reduction initiatives to prevent potential harm due to drug abuse and pledged to play a constructive role in incorporating the issue in the new constitution.
Addressing a workshop on ‘Harm Reduction for Policymakers in Nepal’ organised here by Goreto Nepal, she said CA members would raise the issue and coordinate with the ministries concerned in formulating national policies and strategies based on harm reduction principles. “It is high time we acted to ensure that youths do not follow the wrong path by abusing drugs,” said Subedi. She also urged the state to devise and prioritise youth-friendly national programmes to encourage and exploit the potential of youth.
Patric O’Gorman, UNESCO and European Commission representative, cautioned against neglecting drug abusers in society and called on all to mainstream them. “Drug abuse is a most serious challenge facing Nepal. Many trapped in drug abuse are often ostracised. This is not a solution,” he said. “Even punishment is not a solution. Nepal should formulate a clear policy to address the issue and create more employment for the youth.”
Uddhav Prasad Paneru, an official at the Disaster Management and Drug Control Programme under the Home Ministry, said the government would come up with an updated edition of Narcotic Drugs Control Act with special emphasis on harm reduction.
Naya Goreto Chairman Bijaya Pandey said the workshop was aimed at making CA members aware of the problem so that they would work towards amending laws and policies that enable people who are victims of drug abuse. People who abuse drugs should not be criminalised. They should have universal access to treatment for harm reduction. That is the right way to deal with the problem,” he said.