Over the years addiction to drug has been a social malady. People of every strata are bearing the brunt of drug addiction. This societal illness has engulfed the youths and teens so alarmingly causing a constant threat to the country’s development. Different sources estimate that around 80 lakh people across the country are drug-addicts and the youths cover 80% of the estimation. According to the sources, over the last 20 years, the number of addicts has increased many times. As per the report of 2020, the most of the drug abusers in the country are between 18 and 35 years in age.
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 centers 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.
In the recent years the teens’ alcoholism and addiction to different harmful substances are found frequent in the society. In most cases the teens of the upper class society have been accustomed to taking drugs in the absence of parental care. Recently, a survey estimates that teenagers from higher-income families are more likely to drink compared with those from lower-income families.
Experts opine that the growing culture of the upper class people to attend party, dance club, drink alcohol and many more harmful practices in the name of keeping their family and social status have somehow the influences of their children as children love to imitate their parents and society.
It is evident that bad parenting leads children to despondency. Reports say that around 2.5 million children in the country are drug addicts belonging to different social classes. The worst scenario is exposed from the street children. Recently, the findings from the Combating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CCSEC) consortium demonstrate that 86% of street children are addicted to drugs and most of them are devastated due to various terrible experiences in their life.
Apart from being addicted, they are found to work as helping hands of the ring leaders trading and trafficking drugs. These children are addicted to cannabis, heroin, stimulant or sleeping pills, glue and gasoline sniffing along with marijuana and heroin, phensedyl, yaba and other locally produced drugs. It is surprising that they may have want of food and shelter but they have the availability of these drugs as the dealers and traffickers of drugs run their illegal activities mostly using street children.
Truly, drug related crimes have increased manifolds in the country. In many cases the societies overlook such problems. But do societies and the polished civilians deny their responsibilities in this regard? Many students from different education levels are being trapped by the drug dealers enticing them with many ambitious promises. Obviously, dreams of many families are found to nip in the bud when their children go astray being addicted to drugs. 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.
It is obvious that drug dealing 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 .
During the Covid-19 pandemic, drug dealing and trafficking have been a boon. 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.
Studies have found that frustration, mental despondency, peer pressures and economic insolvency lead the youth to drug-addiction. Not only that, unemployment has been a growing issue for drug abuse. Again, there are some who take drugs only for fascination and many other take drugs as a fashion. However, availability of drugs is 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.
Evidently, drug addicts are not only causing great harms to themselves and their families. Research shows that drug abusers in most cases are responsible for social instability. Rape culture has been a common problem amid the country in recent years. Findings show that the criminals who are involved in raping, in many cases are drug addicted. Not only that, drug abusers are involved in domestic violence against girls and women.
Again, the juvenile gang culture has risen in the cities alarmingly. The members of these gangs most of the time in a day stay drug-addict and roam around their locality and more often they are found involved in fighting in one another gangs over the issue of power spreading . They are completely void of civic sense along with values in life. Even their parents have hardly control over their sons, rather they may be physically assaulted by their addict sons. It seems that our social values have completely been paralyzed.
Though the present government announced ‘zero tolerance to drug’, in some cases drug dealings, trafficking and addiction go unabated. Along with implementing laws strictly, identifying the root causes and working on them are a must of the day to check social erosion and ensure future of the youths.
Alaul Alam: teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS