Drugs abuse se­ri­ous threat for present civ­i­liza­tion

Bas­anta Raj Kun­war, Chair­man, Nar­conon Nepal

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Re­cently Bas­anta Raj Kun­war was dec­o­rated with the most pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional award, Alexandra Nevraski Medal by Rus­sia. Kun­war is the only per­son in Nepal who has re­ceived such a pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional dec­o­ra­tion. A doc­u­men­tary on the work of for­mer Nepal Po­lice SSP Kun­war was re­leased in Hol­ly­wood in the re­cent past. In the doc­u­men­tary, Kun­war is in­tro­duced as a leg­end of Asia who has de­voted his life to fight against drugs in this en­tire con­ti­nent. Se­nior Nepal Po­lice of­fi­cer Kun­war's po­ten­tial­ity was not rec­og­nized by his or­gan­i­sa­tion. This is why Kun­war was com­pelled to re­tire from the Po­lice job in 2007. The then Home Min­is­ter Krisna Prasad Si­taula and IGP Om Bikram Rana were the main con­spir­a­tor to snatch Kun­war's job in a very young age. Af­ter re­tire­ment, Kun­war started mas­sive drug ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram in schools and col­leges to pro­tect the youths of Nepal. His de­vo­tion and ac­tiv­i­ties were keenly mon­i­tored by Nar­conon In­ter­na­tional Amer­ica and later it came to sup­port him. Nar­conon In­ter­na­tional was so im­pressed by his works that they pro­vided li­cense to open highly re­puted Nar­conon Drug Preven­tion and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter in Nepal. Be­ing a mem­ber of Nar­conon, Kun­war started work­ing at ex­treme level and he be­came the most pro­duc­tive Nar­conon mem­ber of the world and was dec­o­rated by the Free­dom Medal, Amer­ica on 2013. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Free­dom Medal he be­came one of the le­gends of the world work­ing against drugs and he got the re­spon­si­bil­ity as an anti-drug ed­u­ca­tor for the en­tire world as a part of the Nar­conon In­ter­na­tional and a so­cial worker. Nar­conon In­ter­na­tional as­signed him to de­liver lec­ture on abuse of drugs in many parts of the world. Af­ter be­ing dec­o­rated with the medal in Rus­sia, he has just re­turned home. Peo­ple's Re­view weekly in­ter­viewed Kun­war upon his re­turn from Rus­sia. Ex­cerpts are as given be­low:

Q. How are you feel­ing af­ter re­ceiv­ing the pres­ti­gious dec­o­ra­tion from Rus­sia and Amer­ica?

A. Although I was born in a very small vil­lage in Nepal, with the help and co­op­er­a­tion, sup­port and bless­ings of many peo­ple I be­came able to re­ceive these awards. What I be­lieve is that these medals are for my coun­try. When I was re­ceiv­ing the medal, along with my name the name of my coun­try was also lauded. This is why I al­ways wear typ­i­cal Nepali dress while re­ceiv­ing such dec­o­ra­tions. I am feel­ing very proud in gen­eral.

Q. You were com­pelled to re­tire from the Nepal Po­lice job force­fully through a con­spir­acy. How do you feel now?

A. The prob­lem of this na­tion is cor­rup­tion and non-vi­sion­ary and self-cen­tered po­lit­i­cal lead­ers rul­ing this coun­try. My bad luck was that Kr­ishna Shi­taula was the home min­is­ter and Om Bikram Rana was the Nepal Po­lice IGP, both were not ca­pa­ble guys to com­mand and pro­tect the Po­lice Force. Their en­tire in­ten­tion was to earn money and to use the Po­lice Force for their po­lit­i­cal ben­e­fit. I was a pro­fes­sional Po­lice of­fi­cer. As I could not ful­fill their ill in­ten­tions, they snatched my Po­lice uni­form. It was a his­tor­i­cal shame­ful work done by Si­taula and Rana. For­tu­nately, my morale and dig­nity gave me a new height af­ter my re­tire­ment from the Po­lice Force. These medals are the eval­u­a­tion of my works. When I re­mem­ber the con­spir­a­tors who snatched my uni­form I do not feel weak but feel more pow­er­ful and en­er­getic.

Q. What should a for­mer Po­lice of­fi­cer do af­ter re­tire­ment?

A. For­mer po­lice­men are the as­set for the na­tion in ev­ery field. As the Po­lice­men are dis­ci­plined, he can con­trib­ute enor­mously for the bet­ter­ment of pol­i­tics, diplo­macy, so­ci­ety, cul­ture, among oth­ers. While serv­ing in the Po­lice force, they gain deep knowl­edge about peo­ple and socio-eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion. In my opinion, the Po­lice have knowl­edge about so­ci­ety, they know ex­actly how the work should be done and achieve the ob­jec­tive.

Q. How you ob­serve the drugs prob­lem?

In my opinion it is the No. 1 threat for the civ­i­liza­tion of the present era. Many coun­tries in the world are ac­cept­ing it as hu­man rights. They have le­gal­ized this is­sue. Some are us­ing drugs as a means of mak­ing money for ter­ror­ism. Covertly, many na­tions are us­ing the drugs as a weapon to de­stroy the youth of the en­emy coun­try. Drug trade is be­ing the most prof­itable and huge turnover ac­com­plish­ing busi­ness. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are mak­ing huge amount of money by pro­mot­ing and sell­ing drugs. More than 300 mil­lion peo­ple are badly trapped on drugs at present time. A large num­ber of stu­dents of school and col­leges from grade 8 to 12 are ex­ces­sively tak­ing drugs as a fashion. Schools and col­leges have dif­fer­ent teacher for dif­fer­ent sub­jects but they don't have any drugs ed­u­ca­tion in­struc­tor. The gen­eral peo­ple are not tak­ing any cu­ra­tive ac­tion to pro­tect their kids from the drugs and even if some­one in the fam­ily is tak­ing drugs, in­stead of bring­ing the is­sue out, they are hid­ing it. In many coun­tries the gov­ern­ment is not se­ri­ous about this is­sue. Some coun­tries are do­ing great in this area but 90 per­cent of the na­tions are not se­ri­ous about it. By this fact I can con­fi­dently say that the world is in dan­ger of drugs rather than a war. Mil­lions of in­no­cent peo­ple are go­ing to lose their life in very young age and so­ci­ety is go­ing to suf­fer a lot by in­san­ity, crime, and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Q. What about Nepal?

A. 200 thousand peo­ple are badly trapped on drugs and if they don't get proper treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, they could die in ab­nor­mal way. The sad thing is that be­sides 200 thousand drug users, at least about 280 thousand other new peo­ple have started tak­ing drugs and 85 per­cent of them are stu­dent from school and col­lege. Around 36000 fe­males are trapped on it. Even stu­dents of medicine, avi­a­tion and en­gi­neer­ing are on drugs in huge num­ber. Drug was the main rea­son be­hind the Narayan­hitty Blood­bath. By this fact, I can say the prob­lem of drugs in Nepal is not hor­ri­ble but is in in­creas­ing trend.

Q. What should the gov­ern­ment do?

A. The Nepal gov­ern­ment has not taken these prob­lems se­ri­ously. In ad­di­tion, I want to say that the gov­ern­ment has even not con­sid­ered this is­sue as a prob­lem. The or­ga­ni­za­tional set-up and the al­lo­cated bud­get for con­trol­ling the drugs from the side of the gov­ern­ment is very nom­i­nal. In this sit­u­a­tion we can't be­lieve that the gov­ern­ment ma­chiner­ies could con­tain these prob­lems. If gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous, it has to do five ma­jor things. They are: First, pro­tect them who are not still trapped on drugs; sec­ond, iden­tify those who are tak­ing drugs; third, pro­vide them drug treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices who are an ad­dict; fourth, help them for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­uni­fi­ca­tion who have com­pleted the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process; and fi­nally, bring them un­der the jus­tice who are vi­o­lat­ing these laws. It means pun­ish those peoples who are in­volved in this crime.

Q. How do peo­ple be­come a drug user and can­not come out of it?

A. Many peo­ple have only gen­eral idea about this is­sue. In re­al­ity peo­ple are be­com­ing drug ad­dict be­cause there are per­sons who are mak­ing money from it. What we have to un­der­stand is that if a per­son is es­tab­lish­ing an al­co­hol pro­duc­tion fac­tory, he is do­ing it to earn money. If one is cul­ti­vat­ing marijuana, opium, co­caine or pro­duc­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs they are do­ing such ac­tiv­ity to earn money with spe­cific in­ten­tion. The peo­ple who are in­volved in this busi­ness con­vey such mes­sage that drugs some­how helps the per­son who con­sumes it, for it they say or do the pro­pa­ganda. As if, you are sad and drugs could be the way to come out from it. If you have sleep­ing prob­lem it could help you to sleep. There could be many such ar­eas where some­one has un­wanted feel­ings, the drug dealer says that the rem­edy of those un­wanted feel­ings is drugs. In my opinion, if there is in­cre­ment on drugs ad­dic­tion we should un­der­stand there is large num­ber of traders in­volved in it.

Q. How are pro­fes­sion­als trapped on drugs?

A. Pro­fes­sional peo­ple might be very ef­fi­cient in their re­spec­tive ar­eas but it doesn't mean that they have deep knowl­edge about drugs. For an ex­am­ple, al­co­hol de­stroys around 20 types of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als. Marijuana has 400 bad chem­i­cals and it has THC neu­ro­toxin. An en­gi­neer could be very ef­fi­cient about mak­ing the bridge but may not have knowl­edge about the neg­a­tive ef­fects of marijuana. This is why they are eas­ily trapped on drugs. If we go deeper there are five ways thru which the peo­ple are trapped on it. The Oc­ca­sional way: We can see in the so­ci­ety, es­pe­cially in the case of al­co­hol, it is ac­cepted as a so­cial drink and peo­ple are invited to have it. Some­one doesn't of­fer al­co­hol to oth­ers to make them a drug ad­dict but in this prac­tice he has more op­por­tu­nity to con­sume al­co­hol. These peo­ple can be con­verted into ad­dicts. Such per­sons are around 10 per­cent of to­tal drug ad­dicts. Sec­ond one is ‘By strat­egy'. ‘By Strat­egy' means some­one is do­ing these ac­tions by plan­ning and with pur­pose, usu­ally we find the school stu­dents from grade 8-12 as the tar­get. Among them, es­pe­cially, the sin­gle child of fam­ily is more tar­geted. The dealer goes to the schools and col­leges, make new friends, pro­vide them with drugs, turn them into ad­dicts, and sell the drugs. They also of­fer the pro­posal that if you could bring three more stu­dents, you can have drugs free of cost. 75 per­cent of the to­tal drug users are from this cat­e­gory. Ten per­cent of the peo­ple be­lieve it is a medicine, the take it and can­not over­come it. Five per­cent are dragged to fit in. In al­co­hol case we find peo­ple are ad­dict af­ter age of 24, and in other case af­ter study­ing in grade 8 to 12.

Q. Why do peo­ple re­lapse?

A. When a per­son be­comes a drug ad­dict then there are two ma­jor fac­tors which doesn't al­low him to come out from it. The first is chem­i­cal crav­ing or the body and mind wants it. When a per­son be­comes drug ad­dict, it means he is in the stage of tak­ing drugs and al­co­hol every­day. When he takes drugs, ev­ery time he will be los­ing vi­ta­mins and min­er­als from his body. This is why they will have pain, dis­com­fort, sleep dis­or­der and other var­i­ous re­ac­tions. Such re­ac­tions are not tol­er­a­ble and peo­ple want to get treated for it. When a per­son takes pre­scribed drugs in this sit­u­a­tion, due to the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem be­ing blocked by drugs, they can­not feel the dis­com­fort. It is not a cure, the thing is one can­not feel it due to drugs. This cy­cle drags him more and more to­wards drugs and to get rid from the dis­com­fort, he even can­not imag­ine to quit it. Sec­ond, once he starts tak­ing drugs ev­ery day, due to the lack of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, he be­comes un­able to per­form daily rou­tine. Be­sides, he needs a lot of money to get drugs. He starts do­ing uneth­i­cal works which changes into a habit. While tak­ing drugs when cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem is blocked peo­ple can­not per­ceive and take the right de­ci­sion. This dis­abil­ity de­stroys fam­ily, re­la­tion and pro­fes­sion. Sim­i­larly, a per­son can­not get drugs from civ­i­lized or a good per­son. He must go in the con­tact of a dealer, or crim­i­nals. Crim­i­nals don't al­low them to es­cape be­cause they are earn­ing a good for­tune from it. Other ma­jor fac­tor is he is do­ing wrong work. He wants to hide what he has done wrong. Due to that his con­fronta­tion power with the good peo­ple de­creases. He loves to be with the peo­ple like him­self. He will be far from the cir­cle of good peo­ple and his be­hav­ior will be like a wild an­i­mal and doesn't like to fol­low any rules or rou­tine. He is to­tally in the en­vi­ron­ment of drugs and far from the civ­i­lized so­ci­ety where he can buy and get drugs. When a per­son has a phys­i­cal prob­lem then treat­ment could work but to change his en­tire be­hav­ior, which could pro­tect him from the en­vi­ron­ment of drug, comes un­der re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Here is where the peo­ple make mis­take. Af­ter treat­ment again they go back to the same en­vi­ron­ment and get trapped again and again. This is very dif­fi­cult to over­come and a sad fact.

Q. What par­ents should do to pro­tect their kids from drugs?

A. As ev­ery par­ent is wor­ried about their chil­dren's ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reer, I sug­gest them to worry how to pro­tect them from drugs be­cause drugs will kill them, and ther is no point ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reer if the child is no more. Crown Prince Dipen­dra was groomed to be the head of state of Nepal but that post could not pro­tect him. Michael Jack­son was the great­est celebrity of this cen­tury but he died from drugs con­sump­tion. From these ex­am­ples we can un­der­stand that ca­reer and ed­u­ca­tion can only work when some­one is alive or phys­i­cally men­tally ca­pa­ble to per­form that duty. I have one ex­am­ple of a very rich man, whose son was ad­dicted to drugs, he made a lav­ish of­fice for him think­ing that his son may stay there, start work­ing and for­get about drugs. He spent about 35 lakhs to make an of­fice for his son and re­quested him to be at of­fice but the sec­ond day the son was found in the se­cu­rity guard room un­con­scious. What we have to un­der­stand is that sur­vival is the first thing af­ter ca­reer. Many fam­i­lies try to con­tain the drug prob­lem through ca­reer. Like, if a per­son has a fever and he will be given the post of pres­i­dent of a na­tion, fever will not be con­trolled. For fever he has to take the right medicine, the post is not go­ing to work. Sim­i­larly, the par­ents need to give sep­a­rate at­ten­tion to make kids drug free. I sug­gest them to buy the books, visit Nar­conon, re­quest the school for drug ed­u­ca­tion and be in­volved in the drug preven­tion pro­grams in the so­ci­ety. It will help them to pro­tect their fam­ily. I sug­gest ev­ery­one to watch SAY NO TO DRUGS tele­vi­sion pro­gram on Fri­day evening 9:30 on News 24 chan­nel ev­ery week.

Q. What about the con­di­tion of fe­male drug users in Nepal?

A. In my study there are 35,000 fe­male trapped in drugs. Usu­ally they are trapped by their boyfriends and the treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process is 500 time dif­fi­cult than male. Why I am say­ing this is, in our so­ci­ety, if a man is a drug user he will be stay­ing on his own house as a fa­ther or as a grand­fa­ther but the fe­male has to go to oth­ers house af­ter mar­riage. The place where she goes af­ter mar­riage, might not ac­cept her, be­cause while tak­ing drugs she is largely as­so­ci­ated with the boys and had de­vel­oped some char­ac­ter­is­tics of be­ing so called free per­son. May be she could have the habit of go­ing to disco, casino, party, smok­ing and drink­ing there etc. which will be not ac­cepted in place where she goes af­ter mar­riage. The other sad thing is, if a male is drug ad­dict the par­ents are ready to take them to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter but in the case of fe­male they want to hide it. This is why they will have less chance to come to re­hab centers. It is very dif­fi­cult to change their be­hav­ior and usu­ally what we have found is, such girls doesn't want to be part of a fam­ily. They want free­dom. This is why from my ex­pe­ri­ence re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of women is very tough and chal­leng­ing job which needs ex­treme de­vo­tion and com­mit­ment. Usu­ally, it is ob­served that the fe­male drug user's life ends pa­thet­i­cally.

Q. What should be done in schools and col­leges?

A. What I have found is that the schools are not tak­ing this is­sue se­ri­ously. If they could al­lo­cate a teacher whose re­spon­si­bil­ity is to aware chil­dren about drugs and make them free from drugs would be the best. Be­sides if a school and col­lege stu­dents are los­ing weights or de­creas­ing in per­for­mance or be­ing weak in stud­ies, they should be im­me­di­ately in­ves­ti­gated. I would sug­gest schools to test urine of stu­dents af­ter grade 8 ev­ery year, not only schools but urine should be tested for peo­ple ap­ply­ing for job, go­ing abroad or get­ting mar­ried

Q. How some­one can get help from Nar­conon?

A. Naronon helps any­one to pro­tect their fam­ily and so­ci­ety from drugs. If a per­son or group is do­ing some ac­tiv­ity which could pre­vent or aware the peo­ple from mu­tu­al­iz­ing drugs, Nar­conon will help them by send­ing ex­perts there. We have the best re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram. As the say­ing goes preven­tion is bet­ter than cure, we pre­fer preven­tion rather than re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing. When some­one be­comes a drug ad­dict, it is very hard to bring them back to their nor­mal state. Out of 200 thousand drug users, about 1000-1500 are at re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion centers. More than 198000 are out of those cen­ter living in vain and giv­ing trou­ble to ev­ery­one. Nar­conon can pro­vide ser­vices to only 6080 per­sons per year. It will not solve the prob­lem. This is why Nar­conon gives high pri­or­ity to pro­tect peo­ple from drugs. We are try­ing to es­tab­lish a drug mu­seum for the chil­dren where they can know about the ef­fects of drugs.

Q. You have been dec­o­rated with the pres­ti­gious award from both the su­per power coun­tries, Amer­ica and Rus­sia. How do you take it?

A. I went to both coun­tries and found the peo­ple there have great love and af­fec­tion for their na­tion. Both the na­tions have feel­ing that they have re­spon­si­bil­ity of the world on them. We can learn many things from both the coun­tries. For Nepal and Nepali peo­ple I have found pos­i­tive at­ti­tude from both of them. They ap­pre­ci­ated the per­son who works for hu­man­ity. My medal is one of the ex­am­ples of that.

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