Thursday Sep 29, 2022
Thursday Sep 29, 2022

Drug Addiction : A growing problem in Nepal

The number of youths being involved in substance abuse, is increasing steadily each year in Nepal

2022 Apr 14, 13:26, Kathmandu
Photo : drugs/ Pixabay

A survey conducted by the Government of Nepal in the year 2020, shows an average annual growth of 5.06 percent from the year 2013 to 2020 in the number of drug users in the country.

The survey found 1, 00,165 (76.2 percent) drug users were below the age of 30 years. It is evident that there is a need to address the growing problem of drug addiction in youths of the country.

‘Recovering Nepal’ serves as a National Federation of people who have had a history of drug use and organizations working to resolve the drug problem in Nepal. Recovering Nepal has over 166 member organizations under its national umbrella.

Photo : Drugs/ Pxfuel
Photo : Drugs/ Pxfuel

According to Bishnu Fueal Sharma the chief executive officer (CEO) of Recovering Nepal, drug addiction is a major problem existent in Nepal. “In issues such as drug abuse simply awareness is not enough, there should be proper education given to people about the harmful effects of substance abuse,” says Sharma.

“ In their youth a person is more likely to imitate other people he or she is surrounded with, it is also a time when people want to experience and try out new things. This makes the youths more susceptible to drug abuse than older people.” says Sharma.

Similarly, a survey conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the year 2020, also shows that peer pressure and recreation were the major reasons people began using drugs the first time.

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in Nepal, followed by tranquillizers and opiates.

With its national outreach and experience, Recovering Nepal categorizes people who are most affected by substance abuse. They include: people who inject drugs, people who practice homosexuality, females working in the sex industry, migrants and their spouses, and adults and children living with HIV.

The number organizations working under ‘Recovering Nepal’ provide technical assistance to people and advocates for increased access to affordable, quality and comprehensive healthcare and medical support services related to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) such as harm reduction, drug treatment, ARV/TB therapy, HIV testing and psychosocial counseling.

According to the latest survey conducted by the government of Nepal, there are 1, 30,424 drug users in Nepal. Among them, 1, 21,692 (93.3 percent) are male and 8,732 (6.7 percent) are female.

However, while taking into consideration the data of drug users as per gender for policy development, it is important to keep in mind the gender norms of the society, regarding female drug users.

A report published by the ministry of Home affairs Nepal in 2020, reveals that they were only able to reach 5 % women respondents out of 2000 interviews taken for the survey.

The female respondents are extremely low as compared to men, highlighting the vulnerabilities and discrimination faced by women who use drugs in the Nepalese society.

Unemployment is another issue related to drug users. The percentage of people who use drugs in Nepal and are unemployed is as high as 40 per cent. Moreover, the unemployment rate is significantly higher in female drug users than in men.

An interesting fact the survey reveals, which needs further exploration as to why it is so, is that 62.7% of people who use drugs in Nepal are unmarried, while the percentage of married people who use drugs is at 34.3%. Divorced and separated people account for 1.2% and 1.6% of the total drug users in the country respectively.


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