Combating drug abuse
Studies propose recommendations how to control drug abuse. National and international efforts are ongoing to prevent drug abuse as it has been one of the most worried issues across the globe. But the question is how far we have been able to address the problem? Do we see any desirous outcome in putting an end of this problem? It is interesting to notice that every society more or less is aware of drug abuse. In the age of information and technology people have reached all modern amenities irrespective of living in cities or villages along with that the rate of receiving education has increased significantly making people aware about health.
Today nobody can deny the dire consequence of taking harmful drug. Unfortunately, it is rampant in the society. Drug abuse is a kind of taking prohibited substances. Drugs are abused for many reasons but it is tough to explore exactly why people get addicted to drugs.
There may be some common reasons such as trauma, relationship problems, chronic pain or medical conditions, etc that researchers and psychiatrists find but these factors may not suit for everybody. For example, there are some people who take drugs only for fascination and many other take drugs as a fashion. Drug abusers in Bangladesh are increasing alarmingly over the years. According to the report of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), as many as 114 patients took treatment at public and private rehabilitation centres every day in 2019, on an average.
The report also claims that over the last five years at least 90,133 people with drug addiction problems received treatment at five government rehabilitation centres and 53,720 at 324 private facilities. The rate of female drug abusers has increased more than five times that is really a sign of scary. A saying goes that one man's meat is another man's poison. Rightly in the case of drug abuse , drug dealers, drug traffickers and illegal drug importers are the culprits who only to gain personal interest are causing a dire threat to the generations along with a great shock on the economy.
Availability of drugs may be the main reason for increasing drug abuse in the country. Drug dealers maintain a chain of syndicate to flood drugs in the market, especially to the targeted population. Who are the targeted people? Studies show that the majority of drug addicted are the youths. Most of the drug abusers in the country are between 18 and 35 years in age, which means the young generation is at risk of drug abuse.
Drug smuggling has been made easier as Bangladesh lies in the crucial point between the 'golden triangle' (Mayanmar, Thailand and Laos) and the 'golden crescent' (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) in terms of geographical location. On top of that, it is surrounded by many drug producing countries in Asia making the country a transit point for drug trafficking safely that makes us more vulnerable in case of drug battling. It is true that increase in drug trade and drug trafficking have been found more alarming amid the covid-19. When many sectors of the economy are enduring shocks, drug trading may undergo huge profits because the focus of the law enforcement agencies is to tackle corona pandemic.
Dailies have exposed some incidents that how drug dealers have made innovative technique to suit the situation and to flood drug in the illegal market. In some cases Heroin, Yaba, and Phensedyl are being smuggled in ambulances or crates of fruits and vegetables. We know that one element of the environment is affected; the others are subjected to be affected destroying the balance of the atmosphere. Similarly, drug abuse is a social malady and may be the creator of some other maladies such as social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems making the society imbalance.
Drug abusers are not only harming themselves resulting in death and physical and mental injuries but also making problems in the society, although many of these problems cannot be recorded. Research shows that drug abusers in most cases are responsible for social instability. Rape has been a common problem in the country in recent years. Findings show that the criminals who are involved in rape, in many cases are drug addicted. Not only that, drug abusers are involved in domestic violence against girls and women.
However, the question is pertinent to ask; have we controlled the drug abuse through implementing strict laws and through extrajudicial killings of drug abusers? In most cases the answer is negative. Along with implementing laws strictly there are some other factors which need to be addressed urgently. We need to take holistic approach. It is not enough to combat this problem merely by applying laws but time to work with research-based outcomes why drug abuse is rampant in the country. Not only that, the approach against drug taking should begin from the family and the society should boycott all types of relationship with the drug traffickers and dealers.
Lastly, we are sorry to say that the level of awareness of the common people in the country is not up to the mark. Mass media have a great role to play in bringing common people to a common platform to move against drug abuse. Unless we change our mentality that causes harm to others, it is tough to combat the issue of drug abuse.
Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University