Monday, 25 January, 2021
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OPINION

Fighting Drug Abuse



Birendra Madai

Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, has now become a major issue pertaining to youths. It is a malady that affects a person's brain and behaviour while at the same time leads to an inability to control the use of drug or medication, be it legal or illegal.
Meanwhile, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India has recently summoned several big names of Bollywood film industry in connection with a probe into drug use. Following the interrogation of several drug peddlers, who were in police custody over the past few weeks, the names of top celebrities have been revealed.
The drug abuse scenario is perplexing in Nepal, too. Mainly, youths have fallen into the trap drugs in the country, with statistics maintained by the Narcotic Control Bureau showing that 54.5 per cent of drug users were below 25. Admission trends at rehab centres, back in 2017, pointed out an even worse situation with 75 per cent of drug users falling between 15 and 30 years of age.
Drug addiction among the students is also slowly rising. It begins with an experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations. As time passes, your body demands larger doses to get high. Soon you may need the drugs to just feel good and you will increasingly find difficulty in staying without a drug intake.
Drugs flood your brain with a chemical called dopamine which propels a feeling of intense pleasure. Likewise, youths who have a direct exposure to prescribed medications or having family history of addiction, mental health disorder and lacking proper love, care and surveillance from parents are likely to end up becoming a drug addict. Troubled relationships with a loved boy or a girl may also result in drug abuse.
In 2018/19, drug cases surged to 3,357 from 3,088 in 2017/19, as suggested by Nepal Police Headquarters. A report published by the NCB shows that drug-related crimes in Nepal have been increasing by 11.36 percent every year. About 70.1 per cent of drug users are said to have received drugs from friends while 30.7 per cent got drugs from mobile drug dealers and 28.4 per cent from local pharmacies.
It is necessary for youths to understand that drug use can have severe short-term and long-term health complications, including brain damage, psychotic behaviour, seizure or even death due to overdose. It may also cause sedation, confusion and memory loss.
Besides, one who is involved in the trade of illegal drugs is recognised as a criminal. Nepal Drug Control Act (NDC), 1976 has provisions of imprisonment ranging from a month to up to life sentencing and fines for drug abusers.
When one becomes a drug addict, s/he can still break the chain with the help of a doctor, family, friends, support groups or an organised treatment programme. One needs to stick with his/her treatment plan and avoid high-risk situations in order to prevent a relapse.
All the three-tier government should mobilise their channels in creating awareness among the youths against drug abuse. More security personnel should be deployed to break the drug chains. Though there is no permanent cure, treatment and counselling can help stop persons from using drugs. 

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