Kathmandu, September 27
The Ministry of Home Affairs is set to launch ‘No Drug and Alcohol Control Awareness Campaign’ in all local levels and wards on October 1.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has already sent a detailed plan of action to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration for the nationwide special campaign. According to the MoHA, the campaign aims to control drug and alcohol abuse related crimes, including domestic violence, rapes and murders, rising in recent times.
“Drug and alcohol abuse perverts psycho-social behaviour of a person, making him/her inclined to commit crimes,” it said.
A document released by the MoHA said a ‘No Drug and Alcohol Control Awareness Committee’ would be formed in each ward. The committee consisting of representatives of youths, students, women, civil society and police will maintain tight vigil to prevent production, smuggling, possession, sale, distribution and consumption of drugs and bootleg liquor in the concerned wards, and initiate legal action against the suspects.
The country has a total of 753 local levels with 6,743 wards. The campaign will cover over 25 million population.
The campaign will focus on cities grappling with drug and alcohol abuse, and raise awareness of social, economic and psychological impacts of drug and alcohol abuse.
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 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, the report says. The MoHA estimates that there were 156,009 drug abusers as of 2017.
Production, sale and consumption of hooch is rife in both the urban and rural areas. Studies show such liquor may be laced with methanol which can send drinkers into coma and cause permanent blindness immediately.
Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa is of the opinion that declaration of ‘alcohol-free’ local levels is not possible immediately, but the policy of designating certain places for sale, distribution and consumption of alcohol should be formulated as soon as possible, said the MoHA.
Nepal STEPS Survey 2013 shows that 17.4 per cent (men 28 per cent, women 7.1 per cent) were found to be current drinkers, while 73.5 per cent (men 58 per cent, women 88.3 per cent) were lifetime abstainers.
A version of this article appears in print on September 28, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.