Trends of Drug Abuse in Nepal

Trends of Drug Abuse in Nepal

1. Introduction

The word ‚drug‘ is defined as any substance that when taken into the living organism, may modify one or more of its functions (WHO). Drug has been consumed enormously unexpectedly and unnaturally in the modern era and has created a huge problem in human lives. Today especially doctors, socio-scientists, sociologists, psychologists, teachers, guardians and publics are seriously anxious and worried about the excessive consumption and dependence on drugs, as well as its diverse effects on human lives.

Generally, drugs are used, misused and abused. People use drug knowingly and unknowingly, they misuse the drug due to lack of sufficient knowledge and information. But consciously and knowingly the person abuses the drug against the medical prescription and doctor’s recommendation.

„Drug abuse“ is defined as self-administration of a drug for non-medical reason, in quantities and frequencies which may impair an individual’s ability to function effectively and which may result in social, physical or emotional harm (Park, 2007 : 687). In the context of defining the term „Drug abuse“ as defined by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) substance above involves one or more of the following :

  • Recurrent drug use: resulting in a failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school or home.
  • Recurrent drug use in situation in which it is physically hazardous, such as before driving a car.
  • Recurrent drug-related legal-problems.
  • Continued drug use despite persistent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the drug. (Insel, 2004 : 230)

Substance abuse in the advanced concept of drug abuse. Some year ago it was said that the misuse of drug knowingly for non-medical purpose is drug abuse. Only the use of marijuana (Ganja), charas, nicotine, maphene, heroine, etc were called drug abuse. It was said that if the drugs are used without any medical recommendation that is drug abuse. Substance abuse is totally new emerged concept in the field of human health. Miss of any substance knowingly for the shake of temporary enjoyment and relaxation then it is substance abuse.

Drug abuse is one of the social determinants of human health that is directly related to the health promotion. This paper tries to show the previous and current situation of drug abuse, especially in the context of Nepal.

 2. Objectives of the Paper

This study has to fulfill the following objectives:

  • To introduce about the term of drug and drug abuse.
  • To show the previous and current situation of drug abuse in Nepal.

 3.  Signification/Justification of the Paper

Drug abuse has reached an alarming preparation in recent years. „Drug Culture“ is first making inroads into the live of young people from all works of life. (Park, 2007 : 560)

Health is innovative necessity for human life to live being healthy. It is innate human right so it is ought to live standard life having most good health. Health is determined by different determinants of its, Such as: human-biology, environment, etc. WHO identifies the ten major social determents of health which is directly related to health promotion in which promotion, such as drug is placed in it. (Dawies, 2006:56)

The non medical use of psychoactive drug has become a matter of serious concern in many countries. The incidence of drug abuse varies form place to place. An estimated 12-20 million people smoke marijuana (Ganja) in the USA. 30-50 percent of all high school students had made marijuana an accepted part of life. (Park, 2007: 687)

CBS, Nepal has estimated the number of current drug users are 46,309 where most of the urban areas of country is effected by drug problem among them Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Pokhara, Dharan, Biratnagar are pocket areas of drug users. (Panta, 2065)

It has been continuously done to take about fundamental health necessity and health promotion, over by means of launching symposium and program among them. The content of drug abuse is one of the very significant parts to determine the health promotion. This paper is concerns and significant to show the situation of drug abuse in Nepal.

1.4     Context Analysis of the Topics

Historical Situation

The use of drugs is not a new phenomenon in our society; in fact, drug use has a long history (Insel, 2004: 229)

From the rise of human society and civilization, it is mentioned that drugs were the part of human life and still drugs are part of human life. It is only the thing that now day drugs are used in advanced forms and the process of using it is also different from previous period. Drugs are used in every era of human civilization together is was in stone age or new in the age of science and information technology. So, no era of human civilization is  being isolated from the abuse of drug. We can feel that the whole world is chauvinised by the abuse of drugs, whether it is in fully developed countries like America, Japan and Europe as developing countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Shrilanka, etc and underdeveloped country like Aman. Human society and civilization is always being chased by the abuse of drugs in different ways.

Drug use is a common phenomenon in the world, especially among youths and adolescents. Use of its products in society „dates back as far as five or six thousands years B.C. Hemp is considered to be the world oldest cultivated plant“. Grown by the Assyrians for use ad incense some nine thousand years B.C., it has been in use ever since. Thus spreading from the near east, central Asia, Africa, South America and Europe to North America, it is deeply ingrained in the cultures of many countries such as India, Jamaica, Morocco and Nepal. (Khadka, 2004:2)

Nepal is not isolated from this drug abuse problem. As mentioned above. The etiology of drug use goes back to the Vedic period. We do not yet know how drug use changed into drug abuse. To isolate drug addiction from society is really a critical task.

Nepal is a multicultural and multi-religious country. Human civilization accounts the role of culture and religion. When we discuss about the human civilization we have to discuss about the lodging and fooding, celebration of different festivals and different occasions. People in Nepal celebrate different festivals in different ways but the drugs always play the vital role. Use of drugs like ‚Ganja‘, ‚Dhatura‘, Bhang, and different types of local alcohols are common in different occasions like shivaratri, wedding ceremony, Deepawali, etc.

In Nepal, in the name of culture and different festivals, drugs are being used from ancient period. Nepal is also counted in those countries, which are suffering from drug addiction and this is not any breaking news neither in previous age nor in current situation. In Veda and in other religious books there is the talk about the use of drug named ‚Som Ras‘. Drugs like Ganja, Charas, Bhang, Dhaturo which were used by sadhus and santas in early time in the name of the God Shiva but in later common people also used it widely.

Various types of mis-conceptions, illusions, superstitions, lack of perfect knowledge about drug play vital role in the case of drug abuse. Now due to the development of different technologies, development of different attitudes, the use and abuse of drugs and their production is has get enhanced.

We all know that we can find geographical diversity in Nepal. The geographical situation of country also plays crucial role in drug addiction. In Himalayan religion and in hilly area, different kinds of drugs are used to get rid from the cold. It is said that drugs like Ganja, Bhang are useful to warm the body. It may be partially correct but it is not the absolute and pure fact. Taking different types of home made wines and alcohols for heating body are not a good tenet.

Another cause of drug tendency in Nepal is the acculturation and modernization. For employment and for various purposes, Nepalese are being abroaded. Those abroaded Nepalese when return, they bring the culture and life styles of foreign country with them and apply that in own country. That also play vital role in drug addiction. Another case is modernization or we can say that in the name of updating ourselves with this modern era, we use different types of advanced drugs. The believe that the use of and abuse of advanced drug develop personality and life styles of people also enhances the drug addiction.

4. Drug Abusing: Previous to Present:

Worldwide, the UN estimates there are more than 50 million regular users of Heroin, Cocaine and Synthetic drugs ( We already mentioned that in Nepal the problem of drug abuse is not new. It is not hot cake for us. Before many years, the misuse of drug was not taken as the drug abuse. Before 2007 B.S., the government of Nepal hadn’t provided the open broader system for common foreigners. It was the difficult job to get entrance in Nepal for common foreigners. After the establishment of democracy in 2007 B.S., the government of Nepal provided the open broader system for countries. That’s why many tourists and ‚hippies‘ get entranced in Nepal with western culture and drug addiction. At that time most of the Nepalese were unknown about the drugs named Morphine, Codeine, Heroin, Methadone, Mushroom Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Seconal Vernal, etc. But after 1960 these drugs also got well platform in Nepal. At that time Nepal was known as the central platform for drug trafficking. There was open market system for different types of drugs either local or hybrid, in the area of Kathmandu. The decade of 30s was known as the golden age of drug trafficking for foreigner traders and for Nepalese drug traders too. Drug trafficking was taken as the easy process of money making and still too. Young generation get connected with hippies and became addicted at that time. Youth power is the ray of hope in nation building but it has become curse for world not only for Nepal.

At the time of 2030 B.S. drug addiction had already seen as the huge problem between young generation. We are unable to find out exact data before 1978 because surveys and researches were in dormant state at that time. Government was also less active in the case of drug abuse due to the different revolutionary and political activities. Above we mentioned the data provided by NCASC. While analyzing the research carried out by NCASC, we can find that there were approximately 50 drug abusers in 1978. After two years in 1980, we can see that there were ten times more drug abusers than 2 years before. They were 500 in numbers. After 1 year it just get doubled and 500 reached up to 1000. Later in 1983, the data shows that the number of drug abusers reached up to 8000. By this record we can analyze that between 1981 and 1983, the rate of drug users increased in the number of 4000 per year. After then in 1985 the rate of drug abusers is somehow decreased than in 1983. After that in 1986, there was again addition of 3000 drug abusers. In 1987, the rate again increased rapidly then in previous record and reached up to 20000. 5000 drug abusers were added within the period of single year. After a single decade in 1997 the number of drug abusers was 45000. There were 50000 drug abusers in 1998. After 2 years in 2002 there were 58000 drug abusers. The research carried out in 2004 shows that there were approximately 60000 number of drug addictors in Nepal. The above data excludes the population, who used to use cigar, alcohols, tobacco, etc. This is the record that shows that inspite of rigorous informative activities, the rate of drug abusers is growing up, not in the process of declining.

On the other hand, here is mentioned the estimated number of current drug abusers  by CBS.

          Total Abusers: 46309

          Male Abusers: 42954

          Female Abusers: 3356

Data shows the number of total drug dependent according to the sex, where NGO’s are estimating about 50,000 – 60,000 drug users in absence of official statistics for several years. This statistics provided by CBS near to the reality of what all were estimating previously.

Some facts of current drug abusers are placed as following:

  • Most of the urban areas of country is affected by drug problem among them kathmandu, lalitpur, pokhara, dharan, biratnagar are pocket areas of drugs abusers. Kathmandu Valley : 17458, one third part of all users.
  • Around three fourth (75%) drug users are below age 30 range of age of users is 11 years to 50 years.
  • Highest percentage of drug dependent fall within the age group 20-24 which is 51.1 percent which are almost some within the age group of 15-19 and 25-29.
  • Overwhelming majority (91.3%) of the drugs users took drug first time in their life before they reach 25 years.
  • Nearly three fourth (73.1%) drug users have experience of first time drug intake before they reach 20 years.       Range:8 years to 40 years.
  • Currently attending school/campuses among the total drug users, (14.4%, 6.67%) are currently attending schools/campuses.
  • Amount expense for a single dose an average amount expense by the drug users for a single dose is NRs. 150 range 0 to 750 NRs.

As the period passes, the type of drugs and process of using drugs get change. In the period of 1960/70, there was the market of Ganja and Chares. In the period of 80s heroine got popularity. In the decade of 90s, an artificial drugs like Tidigestic, Codeine, Buprenorphine got the market. Various types of drugs are used in various ways in different periods. In early stages, people used to get enjoyment by smoking bidi and cigar. After that it came the age of the use of syringe as the mode of drug abuse. there has been a clear trend towards the injection of buprenophine by users who smoke heroin of drink Codeine cough syrup( After that chewing, smelling modes are also used. Drug addiction has captured the whole world in such a way that it is really tough task to get relief from it and its disasters.

Source by Birat Ghimire