Photo Courtesy: http://controladdiction.blogspot.com A young guy with a syringe in his hand lying on the side of a road, everyone calls him an addict. No one knows why he became an addict. No one wants to know his story. People pass by ignoring his presence like they pass a stone. He might have some beautiful dreams and he could have a beautiful life ahead. But those dreams are shattering. Now, it seems like his dreams are vanishing underneath the bright blue sky. The beautiful life is vanishing slowly and gently like the puff of the smoke, same as we see the circles of smoke vanishing slowly. The term ‘drug’ has now been given a new connotation. It originally meant ‘medicine’ only. But today it not only means medicine, but also lethal narcotics which include cocaine, heroin, brown sugar, and many other specific poisonous narcotics. All of these drugs have their poisonous, deadly effects on the health and even on the minds of its victims. Mostly, the youth are the worst victims of drug addiction. Curiosity, desire for pleasure, social excommunication, wealth gap, lack of self-sustenance... are some of the major reasons why youth in Nepal turn to drugs. Lack of self-confidence, which is can also be inferiority complex, has been marked as a serious cause of one becoming a drug addict. Drug addiction is a disease spreading rapidly in Nepal. In country like Nepal, drug addiction is also supported by religious beliefs. In the days like Mahashivratri, huge number of people smoke marijuana in the name of holy Shiva. The ‘Babas’ in temples also support drug use. Drug addiction in Nepal is overshadowed by other addictions, like smoking and alcoholism. But because of its cultural acceptability, drug addiction is a big medical and social problem in Nepalese society. The problem of drug addiction is more serious because most of the addicts are the youth. The future of our nation and its citizens rely on the youth. Thus it is imperative that we should pay more attention to this grave matter. Drug addiction in children: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the majority of drug addicts are between the ages of 16-20. Most of them are the street children. The street children have to struggle hard to make their ends meet. At times they have to sleep in cold with a hungry stomach. They try hard to get some sleep, but the growling stomach does not let them do so. So they sniff some kind of drug which is cheap and easily available. This drug helps them forget about their hungry stomachs and lets them sleep. They sniff it again when they regain their consciousness to suppress their hunger again. Slowly this practice becomes a habit. And they become the victims of drug addiction. Few of these street children who are addicted are helped by some of the NGOs and INGOs. Some even recover completely. However, many of them after they are treated are bound to live their lives again. How can they possibly live a normal life with a hungry stomach? They cannot get a job without a degree or skills in hand. They are compelled to get involved either in criminal activities or in drug addiction again. Drug addiction prevails not only among the street children, but also in families who can afford all kinds of luxuries. But sadly most the families are in denial about members who are drug addicts, or they hide it because of the shame and social stigma. Yet, recent research proves that drug addiction is rife, it strikes all economic, social and ethnic groups and it has repercussions on family and society that go beyond just the medical problems of the addict. “Safest place to do drugs is a hospital”, says an addict. I wondered why he said so. But eventually I realized that when a person is seen with an injection in his hands in a street he is prone to get arrested. But when the same person is seen in same condition in a hospital area, he seems like a patient suffering from some type of disease. And people generally do not pay much attention to that person thinking that he is a patient. The government must take a strong step to check this type of practice in hospitals. This might affect the other patients severely. So there must be a mechanism to check drug abuse everywhere, particularly in sensitive places like hospitals. Moreover, the places that grow the cocoa, opium etc. must be brought under vigilance. Those places must be supervised regularly. International projects should be taken to prohibit manufacturing of such harmful drugs.