Govt to launch drive against drug abuse

Kathmandu, September 22

The Ministry of Home Affairs is preparing to launch school and youth-centred drug prevention and awareness programmes in over 15 districts on the dangers of substance abuse.

The awareness programmes will be conducted in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Sarlahi, Dang, Kailali, Dhanusa, Khotang, Siraha, Kailali, Morang, Sindhuli, Mahottari, Rautahat, Arghakhanchi, Sunsari and Syangja, among other districts, through 44 non-governmental organisations, said the MoHA.

The districts selected by the government are more vulnerable to drug abuse.

For this, the MoHA has already finalised the name of organisations which will conduct programmes on behalf of the government. The authorities have also planned to conduct skill training such as house wiring, plumbing, hair cutting, mushroom farming and TV/mobile repairing, and rehabilitation programmes for former drug abusers to reintegrate them into society.

This programme aims to fight narcotics trade nationwide with major focus on cities grappling with drug abuse and raise awareness about social, economic and psychological impacts of drugs. According to Nepal Police, illegal trade and use of narcotic drugs has not only affected social and economic structures in the country but also contributed to rising crime.

Around 70 per cent of social crimes in the country are related to drug and alcohol addiction. Similarly, over 30 per cent of prisoners across the country had been incarcerated for drug-related crimes.

Drug users commit crime both at home and outside to support their addiction and this badly affects the peace within their families.

According to the latest survey report ‘Current Hard Drug Users in Nepal, 2013’ published by the MoHA, most drug abusers were young men and women, and many have died of overdose and excessive abuse. Drug abuse is a serious challenge as it affects the health and life of the drug user, and the social well-being of the family and community.

The report painted a gloomy picture of drug abusers in the country, especially in urban centres. The report said the number of drug users has dramatically increased in between the two survey periods.

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.

The highest number of drug users are in the Valley (36,998), followed by Sunsari (7,407), Kaski (6,917), Morang (6,415), Jhapa (6,008), Rupandehi (5,997) Chitwan (4515), Banke (4,050) and Parsa (2,130).

There are 11,097 drug users in the rest of the country.