The abuse of narcotics drugs has increased manifold in Bangladesh including its production and involvement of terrorists groups with this trade. Due to the location of Bangladesh in between the golden triangle and golden crescent, trafficking of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances getting increased by taking the advantage of weak law enforcing agencies or their indirect collaboration with the trade.
Besides, heroin, cocaine and dangerous precursors and chemicals are also getting routes of trafficking through Bangladesh territory, produced in Afghanistan or Pakistan and even products of South and Central America are getting routes in Bangladesh.
Such transnational crime is conducted by organised crime groups and getting stronger gradually. This is the reason for which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has emphasised for a political declaration and plan of actions on international cooperation towards an integrated and balanced strategy to counter such serious drug problems. According to UNODC, about 200 Million people are using illicit drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, opiates and seductive hypnotics.
Considering all these threats and possible public health disasters, on December 7, 1987, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session decided to observe June 26 every year as the ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’. Since 1988, it is observed everywhere including Bangladesh especially after the establishment of Narcotics Control Department in Bangladesh on January 2, 1990 to raise awareness against drug abuse and about dangers of illicit drug.
There should be massive motivational campaign about bad effects of drug abuse. All guardians and parents, teachers and nearest relatives must keep constant vigilance so that a youth cannot be derailed with the influence of bad companions.
Preventive education, treatment and rehabilitation are priority issues to make a country drug abuse free. These are reasons for which government is firm to create a strong public opinion against the drug abuse and reconstituted the National Narcotics Control Board with this vision. There should be some changes in the rules governing the drug use, production and distribution. The following quick actions are also suggested.
♦ Recreational facilities and diversion programmes to be encouraged that prevent vulnerable populations from becoming substance dependents.
♦ Development and implementation of multi-disciplinary and multi-modal protocols and practices for integrated diagnosis and treatment of substance dependence and co-occurring disorders and for funding such diagnosis and treatment.
♦ Harmonisation and enforcement of laws and policies to facilitate effective governance of the alcohol and drug supply chain.
♦ Avoid torture to addicts which is unacceptable. Torture is also a crime and makes a person vindictive.
We are in total war against drug abuse and we must win this war.
The writer was a former advisor to the caretaker government.