Independent institution to conduct dope tests | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:10 AM, October 05, 2020

Editorial

Independent institution to conduct dope tests

Will the government provide counselling to those who test positive?

We have learned that the government has taken steps to form an independent institution to carry out dope tests in a systematic manner to intensify and strengthen narcotics control across the country. The tests will be conducted mainly for higher education admissions, before entrance in jobs and for the transport sector to identify drug addicts. According to the home ministry sources, any authority or private organisation would be able to conduct dope tests through the institution.

The transport sector is a major stakeholder for the government's dope test operation since drivers of public transport are often found to be driving under the influence of drugs, which is believed to be one of the causes of road accidents. So, the government has a plan to check public transport drivers before, during and at the end of a journey to stop them from taking any drugs while on duty. For higher educational institutions, these "special health examinations" will be conducted before admission and before the final examinations of the degree.

While we understand the government's good intentions in forming the institution to stop drug abuse, we would also like to draw its attention to some other issues that should also be addressed simultaneously. Given the existing unemployment problem in the country, frustration among the young people is more prevalent than ever before, which in many cases may force them to turn to drugs. If these people are identified as "drug abusers" during a job entrance exam, how does the government plan to deal with them? Will there be any counselling facilities available for them to deal with their issues? If they are outright rejected from entering a job without getting any scope to deal with their psychological issues, will that not lead them to further frustration and subsequent drug abuse? Also, if a student cannot sit for their final exams due to a positive dope test result, will they not become more vulnerable to further drugs and unsocial activities?

Will the government consider having counselling facilities in all educational institutions, transport and job sectors with professional psychologists and therapists to help those in need? These are some of the issues we hope the government will also consider while moving forward with forming the institution to stop drug abuse.

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