In today's context, drug abuse has emerged as a major social scourge in Bangladesh. The intensity of the problem is so severe that it has reached every nook and corner of society.
Although there are 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.
The effects of drug abuse are well known. Besides constituting a serious threat to public health, drug abuse 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.
Taking the matter in right earnest, the United Nations has designated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is observed every year on 26 June. Bangladesh too observes the day in all seriousness. But the true objective of the day will be accomplished only when through collective efforts the comity of nations is successful in creating an international society free of drug abuse.
Bangladesh, in its own national interest, needs to be more pro-active in combating the menace of drug abuse and drug trafficking. The government must inject more vigour into the 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 bonds need to be reinforced.
Effective measures have to be crafted to rehabilitate the floating population who not only constitute a major component of drug addicts but also create various forms of social disturbances. It is an open secret that people of political and social influence are the real actors behind the drug trafficking in the country. Hence, the department of narcotics control, police, RAB, BGB cannot play their part satisfactorily. On the contrary, many among the law enforcing personnel are alleged to be assisting the miscreants.
It is clear that there are reasons to be worried about. The ominous threat of drug abuse among youths and its illicit trafficking is there. Therefore, the government must show zero tolerance to the offenders and bring them under stern legal action. If the scourge is not uprooted completely, the task of building the nation in line with our desires will remain unfulfilled.
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