Addicts spend Tk 46 crore a day on drugs
Thursday, 26 June 2008

DNC Director informs

Heroin is widely abused hard drug, yaba a fashionable one

Staff Correspondent

The Department of Narcotics Control said Wednesday that about 100,000 people, of whom 30 percent are women and children, are involved in the illegal drugs trade with Dhaka being the largest market.

"It is unfortunate for us that we have failed to control the use of narcotics," DNC director general Humayun Kabir told reporters Wednesday, on the eve of the globally observed anti-drugs day (June 26).

Drug addicts spend at least Tk 46 crore on narcotics every day, the DNC said.

The director general clarified that there was no specific government data on the number of drug addicts or drug use in the country.

A private organisation Family Hall International carried out a survey in 2004 that found that there were some 4.6 million (46 lakh) drug addicts in the country.

No such survey has been done since, Kabir said. "But a drug addict spends at least Tk 100 every day."

Heroin is the most widely abused hard drug, while Yaba has become popular as a 'fashionable' drug, the DNC chief said. Around 75 percent addicts are aged from 15 to 30 years old.

"We have to increase public awareness about the harmful effect of illegal drugs and build up social resistance against its use," he said.

The DNC has taken up various programmes marking International Day Against Drug Abuse, including rallies, discussion sessions and exhibitions.

DNC deputy director Abu Taleb said the department suffered a shortage of manpower, with only one person for 2.5 lakh people, while many posts have remained vacant for long.

"There are vehicles for our officials in only 7 out of 64 districts in countrywide. We don't have necessary equipment," he said.

Replying to a question from the media, he said: "The department does not have any comprehensive data on numbers of individuals involved in drugs trade."

"Some 8,000 cases are filed on an average every year, and some 8,500 people involved with the drug trade are arrested every year."

"Extrapolating from these figures, we can estimate that about one lakh people are involved with drug trade."

"Abuse and trade of narcotics is mainly urban-oriented. Dhaka is by far the largest market," he added.

The deputy director said drug traders preferred to use women and children for carrying and selling drugs, as they enjoyed relative safety from law enforcers.

The traders saw children as the 'safest', Taleb said, as the law is least strict on them, and they can be employed for running drugs at low cost.

The United Nations proclaimed 26 June, 1988, as the first International Day Against Drug Abuse, to focus public attention on the worldwide scope of the problem of drug abuse.

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