Worrisome trend

Even though the use of opium-based drugs like heroin has gone down in the last few years, the trend has been more than offset by the alarming increase in the abuse of medical drugs. The 17-fold yearly increase in the number of Beupronarphine injection vials — one of the most abused medicinal drugs — hauled in by the Narcotic Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit (NDCLEU) highlights how serious the problem is. In addition, the NDCLEU reported a sharp rise in the abuse of medicinal drugs like Diazepam and Nurophen injections, and Methaaphetamine tablets. While most abusers smuggle in these drugs from India, the cross-border export of hashish has also seen a spike. Meanwhile, the number of women abusing medicinal drugs continues to rise.

The porous Indo-Nepal border is increasingly being exploited by the drug smugglers. Hence for an effective control of this two-way trade, both the countries need to beef up surveillance and monitoring activities by increasing the number of check posts along the border. The Department of Drug Administration (DDA), Nepal, on its part, needs to check the over-the-counter sale of drugs that should be sold only under strict medical supervision. But the DDA is crippled by the shortage of manpower and budget. The same plight afflicts the NDCLEU. At the same time, the government and the NGOs working in the field, in addition to organising awareness campaigns for the youth, should also hold similar programmes directed at women, highlighting the harmful effects of drugs on their reproductive health and their progeny. Hence only a concerted effort on the part of all concerned will help curb this worrisome trend.