Drug crimes increasing at alarming rate

Kathmandu, June 25

The rate of drug related crimes has been rising with each passing year despite government’s efforts to control supply of illegal drugs.

Statistics published by the Narcotics Control Bureau on the eve of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking show that the number of drug related offences is higher than any other heinous crime in Nepal and is increasing at an alarming rate.

The NCB prosecuted 3,896 persons in 2016 on drug charges, a significant increase from 2,756 in 2015 and 2,918 in 2014.

SSP Dhiru Basnet said there was an average of 2 per cent annual increase in the arrest of persons in connection with possession and trafficking of drugs. Foreigners are also found to be actively involved in drug abuse and trafficking.

The only international airport is being used to transport drugs and drug traffickers are making Nepal their transit point.

The anti-drug agency of Nepal Police said it arrested and initiated legal action against as many as 16,717 persons for their involvement in smuggling and peddling drugs over a period of six years (2011-2016) across the country.

Of them, 15,942 are male and 775 female. They include 892 foreigners, including 808 Indian nationals. The arrest of drug traffickers is increasing annually despite a slight drop in 2015. NCB seized 126,007 kg cannabis, 15,522 kg hashish, 50 kg heroin, 128 kg opium, 31.5 kg cocaine and 12,70,498 ampoules of controlled pharmaceutical drugs during the period.

The official underscored the need to raise awareness against drug abuse at local, regional and national levels. “If the demand for drugs amongst users decreases, it will automatically discourage racketeers,” said SSP Basnet.

According to the survey report ‘Current Hard Drug Users in Nepal, 2013’ published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, most drug abusers were young men and women, and many have died of overdose and excessive abuse. While there were altogether 46,309 drug abusers in 2007, the number has nearly doubled to 91,534 in 2013, marking a roughly 98 per cent increase in six years. The annual growth rate of drug users is 11.36 per cent.

NCB said it was appropriate to conduct awareness campaigns in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Dharan, Sunsari, Morang, Kaski, among other districts.