Despite stringent government measures against drug peddling in the country, presence of substances has become ubiquitous. From lanes and by-lanes in cities and towns to the remotest corner of the rural areas the invasion of drugs has been unrelenting. It has been observed that around 80 per cent of the drug addicts in the country are in the age group between 15 and 30. This is the segment of population with the greatest potential. If a significant portion of such people becomes drug addict and its future gets ruined, the national loss becomes incalculable. Therefore, one of the greatest challenges before the nation is to save the country's youth from its sway.
The National Institute of Mental Health Hospital (NIMH) in its survey revealed that Dhaka has the highest number of people hooked to some intoxicating substance. Presently the percentage of drug addiction in Dhaka is 36.8 while it is 24.9 per cent in the port city of Chattogram. A decision was taken quite sometime back at a high level meeting on law and order to prepare a list of the drug dealers and make the list public. But it is clear that preparing a list alone is not enough nor is it easy to weed out the notorious drug traders. From beyond the border of the country the dreadful drugs are entering Bangladesh either with or without the knowledge of the law enforcement agencies.
The fact is that, nowadays, powerful mafia groups are involved in drug trade all over the world. They are always hyperactive in smuggling out different types of drugs to different countries across the world including Bangladesh. As a result the law enforcement agencies of any country seem to be no match for them as they are so invincible and dangerous in their effort to carry out this highly profitable trade of drugs. Naturally question arises how to contain this drug menace. To that end we are to wage a total war involving the social forces also against the drug barons or the drug traders who are out to destroy our youths. But the problem is that the drug dons care very little about social ostracism. This is because they form a powerful class by themselves and dominate society by the strength of their massive wealth and power. As the law enforcement agencies alone are not enough and capable of fighting the drug menace, the need is to engage social forces against the menace.
Experts also suggest an international trilateral meeting between Bangladesh, India and Myanmar to prevent the entry of drugs from India and Myanmar to Bangladesh. Besides, for tackling this social menace in our country, strong community participation and an active family role is imperative. Today people are under severe stress. It is indispensable at this stage to set up counselling units at educational institutions to help younger generation resist the temptation of drugs. The law enforcing agencies should concentrate on plugging the trafficking channel. But if the demand can be eliminated, supply route would automatically dry up. Society must arrange for healthy entertainment and create jobs for youths so that they overcome their frustration. Thus resistance against drug abuse and its illicit trafficking would grow from within society.
Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled is a retired professor of Economics, BCS general education cadre.
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