Drug addiction in Dhaka is increasing, and experts have found that about 20% of drug addicts are women.
An overwhelming need to be slimmer, everyday frustrations, drug taking fantasies and negative influences all lead to females choosing to become yaba addicts, said experts at a monthly press conference about the activities of the Department of Narcotic Control (DNC) on Thursday.
The DNC Intelligence and Operations Wing has identified that female drug addicts span all social classes, but most are from the upper middle-class.
Referring to a 2016 study by non-governmental organisation Youth First Concern, DNC Director (Preventive Education) KM Tariqul Islam confirmed these findings to the Dhaka Tribune.
Ahsania Mission Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre’s Councillor Jannatul Ferdous said: “Our rehab centre has already provided treatment to 147 females, of whom 10 came back for further rehabilitation.”
She also confirmed that there has been an increase in the number of female drug addicts since last year and 20 of the rehab centre's 25 seats are regularly occupied. In 2014-2015, only 10 or 12 seats were filled.
The other rehabilitation centres in the city, Apon Gaon, Baraka, Protyoy and Mukti are also providing care to increasing numbers of female addicts these days.
Youth First Concern Director Peter Halder said his organisation had collected information and case studies from different female addict rehabilitation centres in the city, news media reports and comments made by drug addiction experts. They have discovered that there are about seven to eight million drug addicts across the country.
Ahsania Mission Female Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre Deputy Assistant Manager Iqbal Masud concurred.
Masud said: “Yaba is not the only drug they take. Sleeping pills are also becoming an addiction for females.”
He also mentioned that the female drug addicts from low-income households are often compelled to become sex workers to earn money for drugs or to support their families.
DNC Director (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Md Mafidul Islam emphasised the need for mass awareness of the detrimental effects of drug addiction and urged the families of female drug addicts to get them proper care.