Dhaka, Bangladesh
Curbing drug epidemic

Editorial

Curbing drug epidemic

In Bangladesh, substance abuse, more commonly known as drug abuse, has become a problem of serious proportion. On the basis of different reliable data and statistics the number of drug addicts in Bangladesh is reportedly to be more than six million and rising. Successive governments in the past could neither minimise its massive abuse nor could they stop its access to the country. Moreover, proper coordination and strategies were never systematically formulated to fight this menace. Over the last two decades the pattern and varieties of drug abuse have largely transformed from one category to another. Since the early seventies the nature of substance has gradually shifted from locally produced cannabis, sleeping pills, Phensidyl cough syrup, and heroin to the now popularly known ‘Yaba’. Moreover, the dynamics of taking these substances along with their chemical reactions have changed too. Unfortunately though the means to counter its abuse have not changed. The archaic and ineffective methods to treat patients are still seen in the majority of our rehabilitation clinics. In most cases they can keep a patient drug free for a temporary period only. Many of them are reported to be administered by incompetent and inexperienced staffs. On top of that a really well -coordinated drive to fight drug abuse is also missing. At a more psychological level, the abuse primarily begins with a self-defeating lifestyle and it is here that we need to address our concern first. The second step should be preventing the inflow and access to illegal pharmaceutical and chemicals. Thirdly, we need to adopt and implement newer treatment methodologies to help the addicts. Instead of criminals the addicts should be regarded as patients. Fourthly, social awareness campaigns must be launched more frequently throughout the country – especially at schools and colleges. We have long fought a losing battle against illegal drugs with sporadic and makeshift measures. Now it’s time to think of a concrete and pragmatic strategy. Curing someone off drug addiction is difficult, but not impossible, simultaneously. People, especially the youth, must be made to understand that substance abuse cannot be an alternate way or means of a coping strategy to battle frustration, unemployment or other psychological ailments. Last but not least, we expect to see exemplary punishments being handed down to drug traffickers. Their punishments should be monitored to ensure that no trafficker gets to roam about freely in the society.

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