Why are so many Nepali youngsters in Hong Kong taking drugs?

August 08, 2015 08:01
Too many young Nepali lives have been ruined by drugs. Photo: sracp.org.hk

I was perturbed and saddened by recent government figures that show Nepali youngsters are the most active drug users among Hong Kong's ethnic communities.

It is a widely talked about subject on social networking sites among the Nepali community in Hong Kong.

Many have one pressing question on their mind that has no easy answer.

What is causing so many Nepali youngsters in Hong Kong to take harmful drugs?

A research report titled A Study on Nepalese Drug Abusers in Hong Kong says there are several sociocultural factors involved. 

Firstly, many Nepali youth have had a negative family experience, including lack of parental care. 

Secondly, they are receptive toward hippie culture and western drug culture, as well as Nepalese ganja culture and drinking culture and the drug culture of overseas Nepalese.

Thirdly, while they perceive a low degree of discrimination against them in Hong Kong, structural discrimination in schooling, healthcare and employment has actually hindered them from having an equal opportunity to participate in Hong Kong society.

These are all true. 

However, the influence of the peer group is probably the biggest reason why so many Nepali youngsters are addicted to drugs.

If one lives in a drug-infested place, getting drugs is like buying your daily snacks at the corner shop.

And if their friends are junkies, youngsters will easily be influenced.

Curiosity can also lead to temptation, and taking drugs for the sake of looking cool is another well-known trap.

More often than not, youngsters' initial taste of drugs can provide the excitement of getting high for the very first time, which will eventually get them hooked and ruin their lives.

Other factors include lack of knowledge of the serious harm drug abuse can cause; loneliness and resentment caused by differences in Hong Kong's culture, language and lifestyle from their own; and the harsh reality of being unable to assimilate into the new society and feeling rejected.

Youngsters, just don’t try drugs.

It is a simple message that could have saved many precious lives.

This is why the government should increase its effort in anti-drug promotion among Nepali youth.

The Nepali community must work together and help its desperate members.

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EJ Insight contributor