Nepal Assigns Drug Control Officers for Each District

Authors: Harsh Mahaseth and Samyuktha Karthikeyan*

A simple search on YouTube titled “drug consumption in Nepal”, would lead to many awareness videos highlighting several stories of very small children and their journeys in and out of drug consumption. Nepal has about fifty thousand to sixty thousand drug abusers. Section 4 of the Drug Control Act of 1973 prohibits the cultivation, production, preparation, buying, selling, export, import, trafficking, sortation or consumption of illegal drugs in the country.   

Earlier this month, the Government of Nepal under Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand’s initiation, for the first time in 45 years, assigned drug control officers as per the Narcotic Drugs (Control) Act. Hence, the Section Chief of the Narcotics Control Section and Assistant Chief District Officers for each district position have been formulated. The Chief of the Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division also took charge of the Drug Control Officer at the Ministry. The Act provides for one or more drug control officers, deputy officers and other officers. The Chief Undersecretary of the Narcotics Control Division, Gokarna Prasad Upadhyay has mentioned that this “provision means for virtue, health and convenience of people following increasing incidents of purchase, sale and use of illegal drugs”.

The main aim of this initiative is to control the transaction and use of illegal drugs with the help of the 77 district administration offices of Nepal. The duties of the drug control officers include creating awareness among people, monitoring transits from where illegal drugs are transported, coordinating with the provincial and local levels on the matter reporting to the Ministry etc. 

Cannabis and opium are widely grown in Nepal with help from the corruption in the system, People believe that they can get away with such illegal activities due to such corruption. This coupled with many cross border transactions with India add to this issue. Aside from all of that is the increasing smuggling of drugs in the provinces; however, with the recent developments hope is slowly getting restored. Farming is also seeing a shift to legal produce such as paddy.

While we see new changes, the question is whether these new initiatives will change the statistics in the country and actually curb corruption? Only time will tell, with the implementation of this initiative and we can only be hopeful regarding this.

Samyuktha Karthikeyan is a student of O.P. Jindal Global University, India.

Harsh Mahaseth
Harsh Mahaseth
Harsh Mahaseth is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean (Academic Affairs) at Jindal Global Law School, and the Assistant Director of the Nehginpao Kipgen Center for Southeast Asian Studies at O.P. Jindal Global University, India.