ASIA/NEPAL - Insufficient resources for drug addict children in Dharan

Dharan (Agenzia Fides) - More than 50% of children in Dharan, one of the largest cities of Nepal bordering India, is involved in drug use. Most of these children’s parents are away for work and then left alone, unsupervised. Unlike other cities in the country, Dharan has excellent infrastructure and well-maintained roads, thanks to money sent by Nepalese working abroad. The drug addict children in Dharan have no access to social services or a proper rehabilitation, and those belonging to families of lower castes are particularly vulnerable. Not even the public schools of Dharan are able to manage the poorest children. The proximity of Dharan with the borders with India further facilitates drug trafficking.
The latest statistics of the city dating back to 10 years ago, indicate that 5 000 of 68 000 people are using drugs. In 1996, in Dharan, the Kirat Yakthung Chumlung (KYC) opened, a cultural center run by ethnic Limbu, for the care and rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Sanjivani Kendra, another non-profit center, opened three years ago. Both mainly deal with adult males who inject drugs. The Dristi Nepal, an NGO run by former women drug users in Kathmandu, has opened a center in Dharan which offers consulting and external services to women with addiction problems. Despite the availability of money, however, there is a lack of rehabilitation centers for children, except for the Underprivileged Children Association (UPCA), NGOs and local partner of Save the Children, which is working with 74 street children between 5 and 18 years. Twenty-seven children have been reintegrated into their families and have returned to school. Among the reported cases, 95% of users sniff glue. In collaboration with the KYC and local government, the UPCA is organizing to monitor the street children involved in abuse of toxic substances, and to put into practice the best programs available. According to a study conducted by the Nepal Central Bureau of Statistics in 2006, in 53% of the country's worst addicts were between 15 and 24 years of age. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 30/09/2011)

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