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Prescription drug abuse worry officials

Kathmandu, March 6, 2016: The rise in prescription drug abuse in the Kathmandu Valley has alarmed administrators and law enforcement agencies.

As part of the supply-side crackdown, the Narcotics Control Bureau said it arrested seven suspects, including two women, with more than 1,000 ampules of psychoactive substances from separate places of the capital city in the past one week.

Those arrested are Ajut Lama (28) of Sindhupalchowk, Nanimaiya Lama (44) of Dhading, Yadav Lama (30) of Makwanpur, Pabitra Bista (48) and Rakesh Bistha (27) of Kathmandu, Purna Bahadur Bal (21) and Biraj Singh Lama (22) of Sarlahi.

According to the NCB, they were suspected of supplying drugs to Kathmandu from the Nepal-India borders for a long time.

Organised trade of such drugs, which can only be sold against a doctor’s prescription is on the rise despite police crackdown on dealers and users, said the officials.

Of late, racketeers were found to have switched to pharmaceutical drugs from hardcore ones such as cocaine, hashish and heroin.

“Those found in possession of hardcore drugs get life imprisonment and their property is confiscated. But those convicted of smuggling pharmaceutical drugs needs to spend only around three years in jail,” an official reasoned.

According to various statistics, teenagers and college student account for the largest section of end users of pharmaceutical drugs.

The official said that filling jails with racketeers was not a long-term solution to the problem. “We should make the youth aware about the consequences of using harmful drugs,” he suggested.

According to statistics of 2008, there were 46,309 hard drug users in the country. Of them, 92.8 per cent were males and 7.2 per cent were females.

At that time, the Valley had 17,458 hard drug users followed by 5,112 in Kaski and 3,523 in Jhapa.

Injectable drugs Diazepam and buprenorphine are in high demand among drug users as they are easily available and affordable for users, especially youngsters.

An ampule of the controlled drugs is sold at around Rs 500 against Rs 1,000 for one gram of heroin in the illegal market.