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Coordinated efforts needed to fight back drugs

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MAKING every effort futile to prevent drug trading, trafficking and rise in the number of addicts by Law enforcers, NGOs, and governmental agencies, the menace is now spreading in endemic form among large section of youths in urban and rural Bangladesh. Due to cheaper price, availability in the doorstep, and home delivery system, the drug network is threatening to destroy our youths. Drug addiction is splitting family bonds and destroying social fabrics leading to homicide in substantial number. Its social impact is all the more paralyzing the prospect of the country's faster economic growth destroying the employability of younger people.

Despite attempts to halt the spread, the narcotics network has become stronger and indomitable as certain ruling party  members, section of law enforcers and Border Guards are equally involved with it. The governmental apparatus is not sincere enough to prevent the drug chain from spreading as many of them are beneficiaries of the illegal trade.

Some estimates say, each year, the country waste around Tk 60,000 crore for drugs while the social costs in terms of lost productivity is yet larger. Social protests, which was previously more vigorous, has waned and it is helping the traffickers to engage more vigorously at it. A vernacular daily reported that  narcotics like Yaba and Phensidyl are in open sale at around 1,000 points in the capital and the number is manifold across the country. Such a flood of narcotics in the country has engulfed over 70 lakh people and it is feared that the number might be 1 crore by 2020.

The drug traders are continuously changing tactics and method to spread the poison in the society. They now traffic drugs by using children, women, elderly people, third gender persons and even handicapped people. Aggressively, the traders use stickers on vehicles with writing such as "Executive Magistrate", "Police", "Detective Branch" to run their business safe and secure. They are everywhere in train, launch, bus and other public transports.

Cox's Bazar and all 32 bordering districts have turned into warehouses of drugs while syndicates are operating with tacit support of Border Guards and other local Law enforcers. Smuggling from India and Myanmar is putting the biggest threat to our youths. Indian and Myanmar governments are not destroying drug factories alongside Bangladesh border despite repeated request from our side.

In our view the visible network is just tips of a large iceberg and only tough laws is not enough, its effective enforcement is important to stop the menace from further spreading. Families must strengthen vigilance over their youths while social awareness and strong protection at border are some important measures that need to be enhanced to bring the situation under control. We can't let lose the fight against drugs.

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