Around 7.5 million people addicted to drugs in Bangladesh
Around 43% of the unemployed population of the country are addicted to drugs.
Dr Arup Ratan Chowdhury, founder President, MANAS, Association for the Prevention of Drug Abuse, said this during a discussion at the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Nagar Bhaban office on Wednesday.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal attended the program as chief guest, while DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon was a special guest at the program.
Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) Director General, Jamal Uddin Ahmed, and DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia were at the program, among others.
Dr Arup said: “We have seen several official and unofficial research statistics, which say there are around 7.5 million people addicted to drugs in Bangladesh.
“Among them, 80% are youth, of whom, 50% are involved in various criminal activities.”
Of the total, 48% of drug addicts are educated and 40% are uneducated. Around 57% are sex offenders, while 7% are infected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Among the addicted population, 43% of females take yaba pills. Poor women and street children are engaged in selling and transporting different types of drugs.
Prof Arup said: “Around 1,60,000 drug traders are operating their business across the country. Among them 27,300 are women.”
“According to statistics, drug traders have increased by 29,990 in the last one year,” he said.
Mentioning an ICDDR,B survey, he said: “A drug user spends around Tk56,560 to Tk90,800 in a year. 7.5 million drug addicts spend about Tk50,000 crore annually.
But according to intelligence reports, the average annual expenditure of a drug addict is Tk2.5 lakh.
Home Minister Kamal in his speech at the discussion said: “We have strengthened our drug laws, where the punishment is much more severe. Recently, over a hundred yaba traders have surrendered in Teknaf.
“We want to convey to drug traders the message there is still time. Come back or the result will be horrible.”
Mayor Khokon in his speech also announced the removal of all chemical warehouses within the next month from the residential areas of Old Dhaka.
Measures will also be taken against those found to be storing chemicals in old Dhaka, he said.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said if any police officials are found to be involved in drug trade or abuse, stern action will be taken against them.
Speakers at the program urged working together to remove drugs from society once and for all.