The widespread abuse of drugs has become a human tragedy. In Bangladesh about 80 per cent of the drug addicts are adolescents and young men of 15 to 30 years of age. Drug abuse is now prevalent everywhere both in rural and urban areas. Virtually all segments of society are severely affected by this problem. Near about 25 lakh people are drug addicted. According to a WHO survey, most drug users are young, their age ranging from 18 to 30 years. Meanwhile, a separate study conducted by the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition (JHPN) of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) shows that in the capital, 79.4 percent of the users are male and 20.6 percent are female.

Drug addiction has fuelled an increased rate of dropping out of educational institutions, and anti-social behavior is also on the rise. According to police, In the last two or three years, many more teens have been arrested for using drugs than ever before. Meanwhile, law enforcers are overburdened with a large number of narcotics-related cases. Sources from the Bangladesh Police Headquarters reported that the total number of drug-related cases were 213,529. This means that at least 46% of all cases filed last year were related to narcotics. It is estimated that the number of addicts in Bangladesh is more than six million who spend over Tk 70 million every day on illegal narcotics, say studies and intelligence reports. Young people abuse drugs due to complex social and peer groups influence, frustration, depression, curiosity, a sub-cultural and psychological environment that induce the youths to take drugs. The average age of the drug addicts is 22. Students are mostly falling victims to drug abuse, which eventually lowers their standards of education and attendance at schools and colleges.

Major risk factors responsible for drug abuse are family disorganization, parental neglect, parent-child conflict, loss of spouse strife, indiscipline, isolation, lack of emotional support, rejection of love, overprotection, unemployment, repeated failure, and personality maladjustment and easy availability of drugs. For the past two decades, Bangladesh has struggled to find an effective and sustainable solution to substance abuse, which has had deleterious effects on the country’s development. Severe drug addiction has affected the productivity of a major portion of its human resources, especially the youth. Physicians say weaning someone off drug addiction is difficult, but not impossible.

Support from family and friends, professional help from doctors, and will power of the patient during inpatient or outpatient drug addiction treatment may help to end dependence on drugs. We need to return the addicts to the country’s pool of human resources. Preventive education against drug abuse is essential effective enforcement of laws by the law enforcing agency is needed to curb drug trafficking. The whole community should participate in awareness, raising program which is important to change the negative behavior of the youth. If we fail to control of this will destroy the whole civilization. Khaled Musharraf Trust is working with the youth and their families on grass root level to counsel, campaign and create awareness on the dreadful consequence of drug-abuse.

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