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22 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Drug control and the role of society

Besides damaging health, it causes anti-social activities, stealing, crime, violence, terrorism, social disgrace and economic loss
M. Zahidul Islam
Drug control and the role of society

Recently the Government of Bangladesh has declared war on narcotics and the PM Sheikh Hasina called the people of all walks of life to come forward and help to eradicate drug abuse to save our present and future generation. She made this call when the “International Day against Drug Abuseand Illicit Trafficking” is knocking at the door which is going to be observed around the world on 26 June 2018 under the auspices of the UN.The main theme of this day is to create awareness against drug abuse and making a society free of illicit drugs. This is absolutely in line with the PM’s call and people appreciate her determinations and the active measures taken by the Government to destroy the stock of illegal drugs and their trafficking.About 7.7 million people of Bangladesh are addicted in illicit drug of which about 25% are youths under 16 years of age. We have a responsibility to save our young people and stop proliferation of drug addiction. A good number of researchers, doctors, social scientists and academicians have already come forward with their findings, comments, suggestions and recommendations to achieve the goal of drug free society. Individuals, communities and various organisations can play an important role by realising the seriousness of the problem and acquiring adequate knowledge on drug abuse and its preventive and effective measures.A social revolution is needed to uproot the drug menace from our society.

What is drug?

A drug is a substance which, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed on the skin or dissolved under the tongue, causes a temporary physiological and/or psychological change in the body. Drugs may be legal (such as alcohol, caffeine, tobacco etc.) or illegal (e.g. Yaba, Phensedyl, cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin etc.). The most common drugs used in Bangladesh include: 1) Yaba: contains methamphetamine and Caffeine with hydrochloric acid, acetone, red phosphorous, sulphuric acid and lithium.  These are all poisonous and can damage the liver and kidneys. 2) Phensedyl:  a codeine-based, highly addictive cough syrup. 3) Cannabis(marijuana):made from cannabis plant and used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract. 4) Heroin: made from poppy plant, a highly addictive analgesic drug derived from morphine.

Why do people use drugs?

There is no serious sensible ground to addict in drug but there are reasons that attract people taking drug. Some of the reasons include:

•    Just to make a fun

•    To fit or make himself/herself smart

•    To relax or escape from tension

•    To relieve from boredom and show-up something hilarious or adventurous

•    To forget any shock or grief

•    To make an experiment or try to gain courage for any rebellion

•    To keep request from friends or peer pressure

•    At some wrong time fell in the wrong crowd

What are the harmful effects of drugs?

Drug abuse causes a number of physical and psychological problems that lead to fatal consequences. Some of the detrimental effects including physical, mental and social aspects are as follows:

Physical aspects:

•    Loss of appetite, weight loss, violent behaviour

•    Feeling awkward, vigilant, pacing or restlessness

•    Make people aggressive and irritable;

•    A feeling of increased strength, stamina, competence and ability to “do anything.”

•    Dry mouth, poor dental hygiene, missing teeth or blackened teeth

•    Tremors or trembling hands

•    Increase heartbeat and raise blood pressure

•    Headache or ‘pulsing’ feeling in the temples

•    Escalate body temperature.

•    Change in mood, thinking and behaviour

•    Red, flaky skin

•    It is linked to hepatitis andHIV(e.g.injecting drug spreads HIV);

•    Users suffer from ‘withdrawal symptoms’ e.g. sleepiness, short breath, rapid heart rate, tremors, seizures etc. and sometimes also ended-up in suicide;

•    It destroys small blood vessels in the body, especially in the brain and the lining of the heart which leads to heart attacks or strokes;

•    Initial high is followed by panic, anxiety and delusions; and a feeling of “Speed bugs” or “crank bugs,” are crawling all over the body;

•    It damages critical centres of brain and impairs coordination, versatile skills, emotion and memory.

Psychological and mental problems:

•    Mental illness and their complications such as hallucinations, delusions, confusion etc.

•    Psychotic behaviour, anxiety, paranoia.

•    Euphoria or a sense of incredible well-being;

•    Wild mood swings, depression,

•    A sense of rushing energy

•    Loss of interest in routine activity

•    Psychological tolerance accelerates a desire of taking more drugs;

•    Stimulate desire to engage in risky behaviour.

Social issues:

•    Besides damaging health, it causes anti-social activities, stealing, crime, violence, terrorism, social disgrace and downfall of the society and economic loss. A significant number of murders, assaults and robberies are associated with drug abuse.

How to control drug abuse?

Since the start of the 20th century drug control efforts have been continuing around the world. The Geographical position of Bangladesh in between the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos) and the Golden Crescent (Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan) makes it vulnerable to illicit drug trafficking and thus facilitates the drug abuse. For the last two decades Bangladesh has been struggling very hard to contain the drug abuse. Bangladesh has taken a number of effective measures such as enforcing law against illicit drug trade, trafficking, distribution etc., establishing National Narcotics Control Board, destroying stockpiles of drugs etc.Bangladesh has also taken some preventive measures such as campaign against drug abuse, creating awareness about fatal effects of illicit drugs etc. Inspite of the measures taken by the Government the real situation unfortunately is getting worse day by day.So a social revolution is needed to strengthen the hand of the Government for the successful elimination of the drug abuse. The Societies of Bangladesh can play very effective roles for the complete eradication of the drug menace from our society.

There are many parties, societies, communities and intellectual groups are very active in their own affairs and they can utilise their organisational strength and capacities for the successful banishment of drug abuse as a ‘National Issue’ for the benefit and welfare of our country.

1. Political Parties:

Political parties such as Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, JSD, Workers Party, NAP, Islamic Parties, Gano Forum etc.can organise seminars, workshop, and rallies to create awareness against ‘drug abuse and illicit trafficking’ among its own members and public as well. The student wings of these parties can also take similar programme to make this ‘movement’ a success.

2. Professional Institutions:

There are some powerful professional institutions such as Bangladesh Bar Council, Bangladesh Civil Service Association, Bangladesh Journalists Union, Bangladesh Medical Association, Bangladesh Engineers Institution, Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, Bangladesh Teachers Association, Bangladesh Police Association, Bangladesh Diploma Engineers Association etc. can make a difference by organising seminars, workshops, and disseminating appropriate knowledge up to the grass-root level for the success of this ‘movement’.

3. Educational institutions:

All the universities, colleges, schools, madrashas, training institutes etc. can play very important role to keep this nation free from drugs. Many academicians and researchers have already contributed with their recommendations that require immediate attention and properimplementation.  Dissemination of genuine knowledge of drug abuse is essential for all level of students and we believe the academicians will make their all-out effort to achieve this goal. Appropriate knowledge can also help to motivate the drug-addicted students to be free from drug.

4. Islamic institutions

The influence of Islamic Institutions (such as mosque, madrashas, moqtab, Islamic foundations etc.) is very significant in our life. So the active role of these institutions can help to make our nation free from drug.

5. Churches and temples

By spreading intense message for drug free society to the believers, the churches and temples can help us profoundly.

6. Newspapers and TV channels

The Newspapers and TV channels have been contributing fervently to create strong public opinion against drug abuse. We do expect that the TV channels should consider a regular weekly programme to keep this ‘movement’ forward to achieve the goal.

7. National and International Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)

Some of the NGOs have been widely praised for their development activities in Bangladesh can play important role for a drug free society. All the NGOs should take special programme for elimination of drug abuse in their working areas.

8. Parents and Family

The role of parents and family is of paramount importance for the prevention of drug abuse. Parents are always standing for ‘anti-drug’ efforts because if a child addicts in drug then not only that child suffers but also the whole family become the victim of this agony.Each family has its own set of values and priorities and unless they have very strong foundation of knowledge, self-esteem and family rules, kids are more likely to indulge in drugs. Each parent should learn the harmful effects of drugs. Family cohesion plays an important role to keep the kids away from drug where the parent-child bond is strong they are less likely to go for drug. Parents should be aware ofthree skills to prevent drug abuse: a) parenting skills: the process of promoting and supporting the physical,emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. It includes development of family cohesion, clear communication with kids, high-quality of supervision and ability to resolve any conflicts; b) substance-related skills: adequate knowledge on drug abuse and highlight the need to uphold family values, self-esteem and welfare of the family and the society; and c) confidence skills:to enable parents to communicate efficiently with children at an early-stage of addiction or later.

Drug prevention starts with parents:

•    Love and affection between parents and child make the strongest bond in nature. It makes sensitive feelings, mutual trust and confidence among them.Children are naturally wanted to preserve the familial bond. As long as it exists children never want to hurt their parents in any way.

•    As protector and guide, parents develop a deep sense of unconditional love for the children that touches the core of their heart and soul. Parents can quickly notice their any displeasure, frustration, challenges or any disregards. So the parents are the first one who can recognise early the sign of any addiction of their children and can intervene and potentially stop the abuse.

•    Parents should develop an understanding of the drug risks at home first and keep an eye on the environments at school and communities. Children should realise the effects of addiction including legal trouble, bodily harm, turmoil in the family etc.

•    Not threatening, but friendly and compassionately convincing child helps to motivate them easily. Parents need to talk to child regularly to reinforce the family rules for a drug-free family;

•    Parents should use their love and experiences to make good choices and good friends and teach the children different ways to say ‘No’ to drugs. Parents should not use drugs themselves.

•    Listen to your child and correct any mistake, poor choice and wrong beliefs they may have, such as ‘Everyone is doing it’, ‘heroin won’t hurt’ etc.

•    Parents should teach the children the importance of being a responsible individual and what’s the meaning of a real friend. A real friend never asks to do any risky things like taking drugs, alcohol etc. Reject friends who are doing things that you know wrong.

•    Family-based drug prevention programme seems to be very promising.

In addition to the effective measures taken by Government, preventive education, treatment and rehabilitation should be taken as top most priority to make our society drug free. The Government Ministries such as Information, Home, Education, Social Welfare, Health, Youth and Sports, Local Government etc. should develop pragmatic programmes to support and helpthis ‘social movement for drug free society’ a success.

The writer is Former Editor, Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, Agricultural Engineering Division, Dhaka and Former Water Control Expert, SPFS, FAO of the UN



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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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