“Vigilance Checking Illegal Drug Trade” Kedar Neupane

As the issue related to abuse of drugs is growing in Nepal Joint Secretary and head of Narcotics Control Division of Ministry of Home Affairs KEDAR NEUPANE spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on related issues. Excerpts:

July 23, 2017, 3:53 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 11, NO. 01, July 21, 2017 (Shrawan 06,2074)

What is the level of problem related to narcotics?

Narcotics have become a global problem now. Generally, addition of alcohol and tobacco, which are not considered narcotics, is growing among children and youth. From use of tobacco and alcohol, many children and youth have turned to narcotics and got addicted to it. Given their nature, alcohol and tobacco also need to be treated as drugs. According to a survey, there are more than 200,000 addicts of narcotics and illegal drugs.

How do you look at trafficking?

Drug traffickers sometimes use Nepal as a transit. However, such incidents are negligible due to strong vigilance of the law enforcement agencies. Nepal’s law enforcement has a very good record in tracking the illegal drug traffickers. As Nepal has zero tolerance, our enforcement agencies are very vigilant all the time.

Despite your claim, there are frequent reports of Nepal Police nabbing the drug carriers. How do you look at it?

As I have mentioned to you that the local drug addicts, mainly youths, are growing in number. A few local groups are in illegal drug trade. However, Nepal Police maintains a strong vigilance and they often foil their efforts.

What are negative results of the uses of narcotic drugs?

Narcotics and other drugs have all kinds of negative impacts in our society. They increases social crimes, suicides, social disintegrations, and feuds and decline in the productivity. There is rampant disintegration of families in society due to drug addiction. It is also destroying peace and harmony in society. Its impacts not only last in family but spread in society, country and beyond the boundary or international level. It has badly hurt children, youth, elderly, men and women and all the regions.

What plan does the government have for rehabilitation?

Our policy is also to encourage rehab centers to treat the drug addicts and bring them into normal life. There are a number rehab centers providing services to the people having addiction problems.

What are the reasons behind illegal drug trafficking?

Poverty is the main reason behind drug addiction and drug trafficking. Poor people start to use illegal drugs to get a respite from poverty. Other reasons are bad friends, extra spending, failure of guardians to take care of children, frustration among the youth, low level of awareness and open border are reasons behind this. Parents need to give adequate time to their children and understand their difficulties. Even the children of those parents who use alcohol and tobacco are easy prey for abuse of drug.

How do you see national commitment and National Policy?

Nepal is a signatory to International Commitments and Agreements to control the Narcotics and illegal drugs. The government is committed to control and contain illegal drugs and substance. Nepal is a party of UN Agreement against Drugs. They include the single convention on narcotic drugs 1961, the single convention on narcotic drugs, convention on psychotropic substances, 1971, The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 and SAARC Illicit Traffic and Narcotic Drugs Convention 1993. To fulfill the international convention, Nepal has Drug Control Act and Narcotic and illegal drug control policy.

What about legal punishment?

Nepal has a strict punishment against the drug traffickers. According to the Act, the punishment ranges from one month's prison to 15 years, going up to life imprisonment and up to 2.5 million rupees in penalty. As per the act, the person involved in using marijuana will receive up to 30 days in prison and two thousand rupees in penalty. Similarly, those involved in trafficking and planting marijuana will receive up to ten years' prison and Rs.100,000.00 penalties, depending upon the quantity of marijuana. The person involved in trafficking of narcotic products will receive life imprisonment, depending upon quality of drugs.

How about the future program?

Government is well aware about the situation. We are fighting an all-out war against the drug traffickers, internally and internationally. As a party to UN conventions and agreements, Nepal has its law enforcement agencies and Ministry of Home Affairs working in collaboration with other countries to fight against drug abuse.

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