Drug abuse has emerged as a major social scourge in today’s Bangladesh. The intensity of the problem is so severe that it has reached every nook and corner of the society. Although there is no official data regarding the exact number of drug addicts in the country, the estimated number is about 6 million. But what is more alarming is that of this huge number of drug abusers more than 40 per cent are children and adolescents, including a vast number of street children.
Easy availability of various forms of drugs can be sorted out as the root cause of the escalating menace. Bangladesh is geographically located at the central point of the international drug trafficking route known as Golden Crescent (Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran). It is also surrounded by the major drug producing countries of Asia. Thus, for being used as a transit point for international drug trafficking, the country is falling more vulnerable to drug abuse. Traffickers are making their shipments through Dhaka, Chittagong, Comilla, Khulna, and other routes in Bangladesh. According to media reports, daily turnout of drug network in the country is tens of millions of taka.
The effects of drug abuse are well known. Besides constituting a serious threat to public health, it puts the safety and well-being of humanity, in particular young people, and the national security and sovereignty of a state at stake. It also undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development. Therefore, Bangladesh, for its own national interest, needs to be more pro-active to combat the menace of drug abuse and drug trafficking. The government must strengthen campaign against drug abuse at various degrees; collaboration of the NGOs can play a vital role in this respect. Social and religious values and norms need to be upheld and family bond need to be reinforced. Effective measures have to be
crafted to rehabilitate the floating population who not only constitute a major portion of the drug addicts but also create various forms of social disturbances.
It is clear that there are reasons to be concerned about for the looming threat of drug abuse among the youth and its illicit trafficking. The government must show zero tolerance to the offenders and bring them under stern legal action shunning any sort of considerations. If the scourge is not uprooted completely, the task of building the nation to our desire will remain undone.