Female drug users lack family support

Kathmandu, June 26

Though the constitution mentions that no one shall be discriminated in terms of gender and sons and daughters shall be treated equally, society still views son and daughters differently.

Not only in terms of behaviour, but also in terms of health care, daughters are neglected by parents. Among the 6,000 female drug users, most of them have been kicked out by their families, said Shruti Gurung, a female drug activist.

Due to the fear of social stigma, parents whose daughters were addicted to drugs are kicked out from the house and society. As far as the families are concerned, a drug-abusing daughter is treated as dead, instead of providing them treatment.

“The case is different among boys, their parents take care of them and send them to  rehabilitation centres, but females are not supposed to receive treatment,” said Gurung, adding, “I have rescued many such girls and women who were left in the streets. Some of them were in very pathetic condition, while some were more than six months pregnant.” This is all because of fear of stigma and the need to preserve prestige in society, she said.

“I was ignored and not cared for by my parents when I needed their attention,” said Kriti (name changed) a 19-year-old to The Himalayan Times. “I stopped talking to them for more than two years. They used to blame me for ruining the prestige of the family. Then I left my home for more than six month. Still, they didn’t pay any attention to me,” she said.

There are many such cases of female drug users being expelled from the family. Instead of taking them for treatment, parents tried to ignore them or get rid of their daughters by marrying them with persons who are unaware about the problem, said Gurung.

Most of the girls get into drug addiction during their teenage. They are then forcefully married off. Such a girl face the danger of being abandoned by the husband or her in-laws. In many cases, the girls themselves run away from their houses. “The way society looks at such females has become a problem,” said Gurung.