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24 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Prevent ‘khat’ from entering Bangladesh

Prevent ‘khat’ from entering Bangladesh

With the nationwide campaign against drugs underway, the focus is mainly on yaba also known as the pink demon. Yaba, a methamphetamine based tablet, first entered Bangladesh in the early part of the millennium as a harmless party pill to facilitate a prolonged period of euphoria. However, over time, the drug has filtered through to all layers of society exposing the ugly side in which prolonged use results in psychosis, aggressive behaviour plus irreversible damage of internal organs.

What is disconcerting is that while an anti-drug drive is running, efforts are underway to introduce a new substance about which there are conflicting conceptions. Khat is a leaf like substance used in African nations as a sort of mild stimulant, but drug officials say that the usage of the term ‘mild’ belies the actual harming potential of the leaves, which have been seized by Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) in Bangladesh, imported under the false declaration of green tea leaves.

Several consignments have been seized so far which indicates to a strong syndicate working to bring in khat. The timing of the import is of importance here since khat produces the same effect as yaba on the user: prolonged period of excitement, jubilation and, at times, aggressive behaviour. However, it’s also found that long term use of khat can lead to organ damage, hallucinations and delusional behaviour. The entry of khat when yaba is under the spotlight indicates that certain quarters are trying to introduce an alternative by importing it under a false name.

Since several shipments have been apprehended, there may be other ways to bring in the drug. Obviously, the DNC has to be vigilant. Also, a mass sensitisation needs to be carried out to ensure that the general people are aware of the side effects of khat even before the drug gets a chance to create a foothold in Bangladesh. Shipments which have been caught are from Ethiopia; therefore, a prudent move may be for officers of the narcotics department to go to Ethiopia to take help from their drug control agencies and learn everything about khat.

Also, the large number of Africans in Bangladesh, either for business or for sport, has to be under scrutiny. This is not to discourage Africans from coming to Bangladesh. Since then name of an African nation has come up several times, the DNC has to act to detect possible Bangladesh- based connections before their network widens. From another angle, the usage of khat to distract from any other drug entering cannot be ruled out either. 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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