KATHMANDU, JANUARY 9
Nepal Police arrested as many as 4,259 persons for their involvement in smuggling drugs in the fiscal year 2019-20.
The number of persons arrested for drug crime in 2019-20 is less than those held in 2018-19. Police attributed the decline in drug crime rates to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus. A total of 4,719 persons were arrested with drugs in 2018- 19.
As per the annual report (2019-20) recently released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, police took 4,259 persons, including foreigners, into custody for possessing and smuggling drugs and filed a total of 2,719 cases against them at the district courts concerned. The number of cases filed in the courts were higher than the arrestees, as more than one person was found to be involved in several incidents of drug seizure.
The report stated that police seized 34,947 ampules of buprenorphine, 36,652 ampules of diazepam, 128,440 ampules of other injectable drugs, 53 grams of amphetamine and 89,504 bottles of corex, 7.9 kilograms of heroin, 619.5 kilograms of hashish, 4,367 kilograms of cannabis and 44.3 kilograms of opium, among others.
Officials said Nepal Police Headquarters had launched a ‘No Drugs and Alcohol Control’ special campaign in line with the Home Administration Reforms Action Plan, 2017. “We have stepped up crackdown on production, smuggling, peddling, storage, possession and abuse of illicit drugs. The Narcotics Control Bureau and other police units are actively engaged in dismantling national and transnational drug rackets,” said a police official.
The government has observed that prevention of drug smuggling and abuse would be an effective investment in the well-being of those addicted to drugs, their families and communities.
Nepal is being used by international drug trafficking rings as transit to push through drugs, including cocaine and heroin, to destination countries while the growing abuse of psychoactive substances and injectable drugs has emerged as a big problem in the country.
“Nepal Police is doing its best to control the supply and address lack of awareness among people regarding health, economic and social consequences of drug abuse that continue to plague the nation. If the demand for drugs decreases, it would automatically discourage racketeers,” the MoHA warned.
Nepal Police, in association with various organisations, local levels and civil society, is also conducting awareness programmes against drug abuse across the country. Illegal trade and use of drugs has not only affected social and economic structures, but also contributed to the rise in crime.
Around 70 per cent of social crime in the country are related to drug and alcohol addiction, according to police statistics.
As per a 2020 report on drug users published by the MoHA, drug abuse among youths is spreading across the country. The report stated that at least 130,424 youths are drug users in Nepal, compared to 91,744 one decade back.
A version of this article appears in print on January 10, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.
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