POST TIME: 20 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Save future generation from the scourge of drug addiction
The rise in popularity and availability of Yaba in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country is a matter of grave concern for the authorities as well as parents and social activists
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled

Save future generation from the 
scourge of drug addiction

Drug abuse of late especially among the young generation in the country has become alarming. In consequence, launching of a vigorous social movement against drug abuse and its illicit trafficking has become a burning need of the hour. This is to check social erosion for saving the young generation from ruin. To this end programmes may include colourful rally, discussions, anti-drug essay and drawing competitions for students projecting harmful impacts of drug abuse on juveniles and youths, documentary film shows, rendering folksongs, imparting religious education and prize giving ceremony for the anti-drug campaigners.

All concerned members of the society including officials, socio-cultural activists, teachers, students, religious leaders, academicians, professionals, anti-drug campaigners, civil society and social elites should come forward to take part in the campaigns against drug to save the future generation from the curse of drug abuse. Responsible citizens countrywide should come forward to highlight the importance of combating the spread of illicit drug trafficking, drug abuse, and drug addiction to save the young generation and youths from the wraths of drugs. They need to voice their concern over the increasing trend of drug addiction and call for awakening the young generation about the suicidal impact of drug abuse. Such campaigns against drug are necessary to prevent its illegal trafficking and use for the sake of building a meritorious, happier, prosperous and responsible nation.  

It is urgent to make the young generation aware of the adverse impacts of drug addiction that might take worse turns in the near future. In the absence of a countrywide vigorous social movement involving all strata of people including the young generation and guardians it will be difficult to tame the drug menace by the law enforcing agencies alone. A united effort of all concerned in preventing the formidable threat of drugs and narcotics substances is urgent to ensure normal mental growth and to flourish talent of the young generation. The various voluntary and non-voluntary organisations that are working now against drug abuse and its illicit trafficking should be encouraged and awarded for their laudable contributions to this end.  

The country’s drug situation is horrifying now. Media report said that Indian drug dealers have started smuggling illegal Yaba tablets into Bangladesh from 2015, giving suppliers in Myanmar to find out better option to pump the tablets into the country.

Though these are lower in grade than their Myanmar counterpart, these Yaba tablets that are widely enjoyed by the youths of the country as party drugs are now being made in India. Previously India enjoyed the notoriety of being the main source of phensedyl, codeine syrup banned in Bangladesh. Phensedyle is a major contributor to Bangladeshi youngsters’ drug addiction problem.

The rise in popularity and availability of Yaba in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country is a matter of grave concern for the authorities as well as parents and social activists. As per experts’ opinion, Yaba tablets made up some 33 per cent of the contraband items seized by law enforcers, and these include Yaba tablets of all places of origin. But the rise in India's Yaba factories has got Bangladeshi law enforcers fighting a two-front battle against drug smuggling, adding the western frontier to existing operations on the south-eastern coast along the Myanmar border.  

Bangladesh and India's 4,096-kilometre border is now a virtual haven for smugglers. Observers speculate that a recent ban in India on phensedyl may be behind the shift to Yaba production by illicit drugs manufacturers there. Under the increased scrutiny of transporting phensydyl, Indian smugglers are now finding it easier to move Yaba tablets to Bangladesh. Even legally produced phensedyl was smuggled into Bangladesh for use as narcotics. Despite regular seizures of Yaba by the law enforcers, the drug lords have always managed to keep one step ahead of the police.

In addition to supplying local demand, Yaba smuggled into the country is often meant for onward transport to Middle Eastern countries using courier services. However, unless surveillance by the law enforcers along the border is increased the specific information about the movement of Indian Yaba smugglers would not be possible. Some drug dealers do not need to bring Yaba tablets from Dhaka or Cox's Bazar. It is now available on the Indian border areas. Smugglers bring Yaba tablets along with phensedyl from India, and Yaba is safer and cheaper to move than phensedyl or other drugs.  

The Yaba tablets coming from India, available only in pink, are cheap because of their low quality. It is sold for Tk. 160 to Tk. 180 per tablet in the border areas. The other varieties – green and white – do not come from India.

From confessions of a number of arrestees, law enforcers have pieced together that Bangladesh is fast becoming a major transit point for the smuggling of drugs, especially Yaba, using courier services. The country does not have high quality narcotics detection machines making it difficult for law enforcers to tackle smuggling operations.  

It is urgent and important that the country’s young generation be saved from drug aggression by creating public awareness and launching social movement in addition to government efforts to ensure brighter future of the nation. It is necessary to underscore the need for building a drug free society through creating mass awareness for a happy and prosperous nation with healthy citizens and establish peace in the society. It is also imperative to combat illicit drug trafficking through the borders and stopping its trading and abusing as well.

This is necessary to protect the young generation from ruin. The social campaign against drug abuse, as said above, should involve people from all walks of life and the society, including the religious leaders, specially the young generation to save future generations from the dreadful wrath of drug aggression.

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General

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