"Now I realise that I was living like an animal," says Ekta Mahat, a former drug addict who started shooting heroin since she was in grade eight. Ekta (see pic) is the first Nepali girl to have publicly acknowledged her drug dependency. After long years of addiction, she quit with the support of her loved ones. "I won't blame anyone for my addiction. The people who love me helped me build my resolve to quit."
With help of a rehabilitation organisation, Ekta is now busy counseling other female drug addicts on how to stop while there's still time. Sharing her experiences from addiction to total abstinence, young Ekta has a new vocation as an educator to lift the morale of drug addicts and motivate them to change their lives. "If we are to help them, then society should be more supportive," says Ekta who is advocating against the social stigma attached to drug addiction. There are an estimated 90,000 drug addicts in Nepal. "Many addicts are women but social fear keeps them from coming out into the open and asking for help," she says. Ekta still has difficulties relating to her own family. She is worried that, like her, a large number of addicted youth are alienated from their parents.