Kathmandu: Last month, police arrested two Nepali artists, rapper Ashis Rana ‘Laure’ and vlogger Chetan Karki, on charges of drug abuse. The investigation on both of the cases are ongoing. But the cases are not unprecedented.
In 2013 pop star Sugam Pokharel was also busted in a similar case. Rapper Sudeep Bhandari popularly known as G Bob, who shot to fame overnight with a clip from his rap battle going viral, has also recently been admitted to a rehabilitation center to recover from drug addiction.
Laure, Karki, G Bob and Pokharel are not only the celebrities who are or were in the drugs. Many celebrities from around the world are found abusing drugs. Eminem, one of the highest-selling rap artists of all time, nearly died from a methadone overdose in 2007. Likewise, other renowned celebs such as Britney Spears, Johnny Deep, Keith Urban and Steven Tyler were also into drugs. The situation is the same with the Bollywood industry. Kangana Ranaut, the controversial Bollywood actor who was also a drug addict once, claims that 99 percent of Bollywood celebs indulge in drugs.
For many celebrities, it seems, fame doesn’t come with no strings attached. The “high” one gets from fame and being in the spotlight is somehow not enough. One aspires for a higher high, a more shattering ecstasy. As singer Sugam Pokharel has said in a television interview, “After attaining one certain level of success, I thought, ‘What’s next?’ and this pushed me towards drugs.”
Similarly, another reason for him to do drugs was the influence of high-profile celebrities from the West who were involved in drugs. He wanted to experience the lifestyle they had, he said.
Brandon Novak, an American author and a drug addict turned drug interventionist, outlines various possible reasons behind the connection between celebrities and drug or alcohol addiction.
“Addiction to the “high” that they get from being in the spotlight and searching for other ways to get that same feeling,” he lists among other reasons.
‘Many people consider celebrities as their idol, and they tend to follow their lifestyle. If the celebrities are found doing drugs, then there is a higher probability that their many followers would also want to do it.’
According to him, some other reasons are involvement in “highly competitive and stressful industries, frequent harsh criticism, constantly being in the spotlight and having limited privacy, peer pressure,” and so on.
So how do celebrities get drugs? This is another big concern.
“Celebrities usually purchase drugs from their friend’s circle who are involved in its trade,” says SP Jeevan Kumar Shrestha, spokesperson at Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). “There are no separate parties that are dedicated to selling drugs just for celebrities.”
Psychologist Gopal Dhakal says he is afraid that the involvement of celebrities in drugs can cause their fans and supporters to use it.
“Many people consider celebrities as their idol, and they tend to follow their lifestyle,” Dhakal says. “If the celebrities are found doing drugs, then there is a higher probability that their many followers would also want to do it.”