Say ‘No’ To Drugs

Modern life style, marked by material facilities and unchecked individual freedom, is viewed both as boon as well as bane. Modernity has weakened family values and social discipline. When the children and teens are lavished with physical comforts and greater liberty, they are naturally at risk of going adrift. They require constant parental supervision to shape their character and engage them in study and creative works. The failure of parents and teachers to guide the wards leads them on the path of deviation. In such a situation, they are likely to get addicted to illegal drugs that provide them delusional pleasure and an escape from the harsh reality and mundane routine of life. In the beginning, a person takes illegal drugs voluntarily or under peer pressure but repeated drug consumption makes the users addicted as it causes changes in brain that weaken the users’ rational power, judgment and self-control. As a result, s/he fails to resist the temptation to take the drugs. In Nepal, drug addiction has become a serious challenge. Hundreds of thousands of young people have been addicted to illegal drugs and spoilt their valuable life. This has had many negative implications for family, society and the health of the nation as a whole.

Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Home the other day presented an alarming picture of drug addiction. It disclosed that the number of illegal drug users has increased by 98 per cent, putting a question mark on the efforts and effectiveness of anti-narcotic drive in the country. In a survey conducted in 10 districts at an interval of six years (2063-2069 BS), the number of hard drug users reached 9,000. Of the total hard drug users, 93.1 per cent are male and 6.9 per cent female. The total number of illegal drug users stands at 91,534, which is a 98 per cent rise. This data is official and the real number of drug addicts may go higher than this. The hard drugs include opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, methadone and meperidine, which have been totally banned in the country. Similarly, marijuana, hashish, hashish oil and other narcotic items also fall into the group of hard drugs. The solvent drugs like inhalants, paints, gasoline, dendrite and boot polish are also illegal as defined by the Narcotics Control Act-2033 BS and Drug Act-2035 of Nepal. The ministry officials noted that the number of drug users has grown by 11.34 per cent annually.

Drug addiction is a ‘complex disease and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will.’ The medical researches show that drug addiction is a curable and manageable disease. It is a relapsing disease that demands regular monitoring of families and rehab centres on the addicted persons. The behavioural therapy is one of the most effective ways to successfully treat the drug addicts. There is a need for awareness campaign about the harmful effects of illegal drugs among its users. Families, schools, communities, health service providers and the media should educate the addicts and help them recover from addiction and lead a productive life.

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