KATHMANDU, June 19: The rate of drug-related crimes has been rising by 11.36 percent every year in Nepal, data from the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) suggested.
Out of the total crimes, seven percent is related to the drug, the data suggested. According to NCB, a total of 2382 drug users were held in the last five months. Of the arrested, 2171 were Nepali nationals, 83 Indian nationals and six from other countries. In 2018, a total of 4898 were arrested in connection with drug smuggling while 3941 were arrested in 2017.
The government’s initiative seemed less effective in terms of controlling the supply of illegal drugs in recent years.
Mainly, youths are addicted to drugs in Nepal, according to statistics maintained by the NCB. Data shows that 54.5 percent of drug users are below 25.
The police do not have definite reasons to exactly figure out what leads today’s youth into drug addiction. However, trends suggest that unemployment, family problems, frustration, peer pressure, and poverty are some of the reasons.
Of the total drug abusers, 70.1 percent were found to have received drugs from their friends, 30.7 percent purchased drugs from mobile drug dealers and 28.4 percent from local pharmacies.
Spokesperson of the Nepal Police, Bishwaraj Pokharel told Republica Online that there are various reasons behind the rise of drug-related crimes in the country.
"Drug trafficking has been significantly increased due to the open and porous border with our southern neighbor India," Pokharel said.
India is a key destination of hashish and it has been illegally produced in Nepal for several years. The smuggling of psychotropic substance and pharmaceutical drugs has become quite common along the Nepal-India border.
Foreign nationals are also found to be involved in drug abuse and trafficking. Tribhuvan International Airport, the only international airport of Nepal, has been misused to transit drugs to various countries. In its recent report, the United States Department of State expressed concern that foreigners are using Nepal as a transit point.
According to NCB, almost all the pharmaceutical drugs like buprenorphine, diazepam and amphetamine are smuggled to Nepal from India.
According to Nepal Police, police arrest on an average of 10 persons every day and 305 persons every month in connection with drug-related crimes.
NCB Spokesperson, SP Krishna Prasai vowed to curb drug smuggling in Nepal. He admitted that several racketeers are using Nepal as a transit point for drug smuggling.
“Contraband drugs like cocaine and opium are mostly smuggled to foreign countries via Nepal. It is because these contraband drugs are less consumed in Nepal since these drugs are quite expensive,” he said.
Prasai said that Nepal Police has been launching public awareness program in schools and colleges to reduce the drug-related crimes.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday launched a week-long campaign against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The campaign will run until June 27 under the slogan 'Drug-free healthy life for building a prosperous nation'. Secretary Prem Kumar Rai expressed the belief that the campaign would help reduce the use of drugs as the number of drug abusers is increasing every year in the country.
Rai further said that the campaign would help to control the drug abuse as around 150,000 youths are now involved in drug addiction in Nepal.
The ministry said that the campaign will be launched at the center, states, and local levels to control drug abuse and its illegal trafficking.