Meen Poudyal Chhetri
Poudyal Chhetri, Meen Department of Drug Control
Several urban and sub-urban areas of Nepal have been affected by drug abuse, resulting in violence, unsafe sex practices, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancy and other social disruptions. Adolescents are the most vulnerable to drug addiction and such risky behaviors. Low literacy rate, school dropout and lack of awareness have been found to be the main factors in drug addiction and the resulting negative-practices mentioned above. A comprehensive questionnaire was formulated and a door-to-door survey was carried out in a suburban area called "Janagal", near Kathmandu, to see the effects of the drug addiction problem in the sub-urban areas of Nepal. For this purpose, 75 randomly-selected households were visited and interviewed. One major significance of the study was that no female addicts were found in the study area. More than 50 percent of the people in the study area were found to be uneducated and very poor. Out of the above-mentioned 75 households, 27 drug addicts were found among 20 households. Twenty of these addicted individuals were injection drug users. The study revealed that the use of alcohol and other drugs led to violence and unsafe sex. It was found that less than 20 percent of the addicts involved in sex use contraceptives. Among the 27 addicted individuals, 22 started using drugs before the age of 15.The age group of most addicts was between 13 and 38 years. However, 30 were from the 13 to 20 age group. The abuse of alcohol and other drugs has led them to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancy, resulting in the births of unhealthy babies (low weight and even abnormal behavior in some children). The heroin addicts and injection drug users have been quite vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, tuberculosis and STDs. It was also found that unsafe sex and drug abuse have disrupted the lives of the concerned individuals, families and society. As the social security is endangered in the study area, it needs to be controlled. No preventive measures have been taken so far from the government side in this overshadowed area. Therefore, awareness through education, training, interaction and publicity are highly desirable in the "Janagal" area. Such programs should be supported by the government and carried out through NGOs, social organizations and social workers that are acquainted with the problems of that area.