The abuse of drugs has become one of the most alarmingly taunting concerns of the whole world including Bangladesh. Almost 200 million people are addicted to different kinds of drugs. It is a matter of great anxiety and fear that most of the drug abusers belong to the ages from 18 to 30. The youth--the future--of the world is trapped inside the maze of illegal drugs. In Bangladesh, almost 60 lakh people of different ages and classes are drug addicts. However, Bangladesh do not produce drugs. There are many drug dealers in the country who import drug mainly from our neighbouring countries. They illicitly traffic the life-threatening drugs to Bangladesh for earning black money. So, Bangladesh, in this way, has become a marked place for drug dealers and abusers. Drugs like opium, marijuana, hashish are terrifically replaced by weed, phensedyl, alcohol, yaba, pethidine and so on. Some of these drugs are drunk, some are inhaled and some are injected directly into the body. Whatever the way is, these drugs never bring any positive thing to the body and mind of any human being. These are as dangerous as poison.
This drug-issue is not a new thing. Many public and private organisations have been working on this project for years. United Nations, by the resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987 in a general assembly, declared 26 June as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. From then on, the member states, their non-profit organisations, communities, government and non-government organisations have been doing awareness projects against drug abuse. This year, the theme of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is "Health for Justice. Justice for health". It basically conveys the message that justice and health are interconnected. The health issues should be properly fixed.I have mentioned earlier that Bangladesh does not produce drugs, but various kinds of drugs are smuggled in mainly from Myanmar and India. For example, India and Myanmar have become two very supportive dealers of yaba. Many young people buy and consume this hellishly self-destructive drug. Drugs like yaba are banned. Still some dishonest dealers can manage to make the narcotics checkers fool and illicitly import the drugs from other countries. This is why illegal trafficking of drugs should be checked with proper care.
There are so many unnecessary reasons for which young potential people fall in the trap of drugs. The reasons include curiosity, peer pressure, depression, broken family, broken relationship, unemployment and corrupted culture. Many teenagers puff the first smoke of cigarette just out of curiosity. Cigarette is made of addictive element called nicotine. This is why the sudden and occasional use of cigarette may lead one to form a stubborn bad habit of smoking on a regular basis. It is said that smoking cigarettes is the guide to get used to with other forms of drugs. Many school going students start consuming drugs because their friends are doing it. Some drugs including alcoholic drinks are not banned. But one needs a proper license to buy them. Unfortunately, the sellers sell the alcoholic products to anyone who approaches to buy. They only know one thing--money! Anton Chekhov rightly said, "Money, like vodka, turns a person into eccentric". These lawless and greedy sellers import and sell illegal drugs to the drug victims.
Some people consume drugs because they associate drugs with a particular way of life. For example, a folk festival takes place in Kushtia at Lalon's Akhra every year. There the folk singers commemorate Lalon Shai by singing his songs all day and night long. Besides practising "lalongeeti", young people get madly involved in inhaling weed. Who on earth said that without consuming a drug you cannot enjoy the essence of a Sufi song? There is another strange culture among rock-song lovers. If weed is associated with Sufi songs, beer and whiskey will be connected to rock songs. There was an ideology in rock musicians. They must have three things: women, sex and alcohol. The innocent and blind followers of the celebrity stars adapted this harmful practice from them.
A broken family or a broken relationship may make someone to consume drugs. Depression of any form may also lead one to drug addiction. Whatever the reasons are, these can be prevented. A healthy and friendly family life can prevent the children from taking drugs for any reason. A regular counselling with the parents and friends can make the children more proactive. Parents must see and meet the friends and acquaintances of their children. A bad companion is very harmful. Usually teenagers cannot sense the danger of having addicted friends. Since they pass a very vulnerable phase of their lives, they prefer to live in their own ways. They do not tend to listen to the parents. In that case, parents must not lose hope and patience. If the parents lose their patience, the children will lose their tracks. It can be a very challenging task to keep the children on the right track.Our government should be stricter about the illicit trafficking of drugs. There must be a technically sharp anti-narcotics machine so that the illegal drugs can easily be traced out. Many government and non-government organisations are running anti-drug campaigns with slogans like "say no to drug, say no to tobacco". These projects are also helpful to make people aware of the devastating sides of consuming drugs. It is true that prevention is better than cure. But there is always a scope for solving a problem. We must first work on preventing our people from getting addicted to drugs. If, unfortunately, they get addicted, we must help them to come out of the trap. There are many rehabilitation centres for drug addicts. The process is long, but effective. There are experts who know how to deal with drug addicts and make them understand about the dark sides of taking drugs. It is a lengthy but hopeful process.
When people demand more, the illegal sellers get a chance to supply more illicit drugs. So, if we prevent and cure the abuse of drugs, the demand will be decreased. In this way, the trafficking will become a loss project for the dealers. Our administration must check harder from now on. The young generation must be saved for the sake of the betterment of the country. So, let's celebrate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking to build up a drug-free society around us.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University, Chittagong.