21 per cent of the street children in the country are being used as the carrier of drug. And, 58 per cent of the street children use one or another type of drug. This picture surfaced in a research of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC).

The annual report of the department for the year 2021 says, drug dealers are using women and children as drug transporters.

In such backdrop, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is being observed in the country today (Sunday). This year, the theme of this day is about "addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises".

As part of the research, 1,600 street children were interviewed across the country. Among them, 928 children have admitted taking drug. That means 58 per cent of the street children are drug abusers.

Meanwhile, 336 children out of those 928 children have said apart from taking drug themselves they transport it as well. This consists 21 per cent of them all.

The research information indicates, it is quite easy for street children to collect drugs. 53 per cent of the children buy drugs directly from the dealers. 14 per cent of the street children have said that they started taking drugs prior to turning 10.

The result of the research carried on upon underage drug abusers by DNC was published last year. The study aimed at finding ways to prevent juveniles from abusing drug through the identification of health risks and the mental health condition caused by drug abuse at a young age.

When asked, Azizul Islam, additional director general of narcotics control department told Prothom Alo, after reviewing the recommendations made in the research, steps will be taken to implement them.

The mental health condition of the young drug abusers were determined in the research based on these five aspects -- the ability to control emotions, ability to care for oneself, dynamism and concentration, friendship and social behaviour.

It showed, as much as 55 per cent of them are not 'normal', considering from their mental health condition. 64 per cent are incapable of caring for themselves.

The research also found that the drug abusers of Bagerhat, Cumilla, Jamalpur, Thakurgaon, Satkhira, Faridpur, Habiganj, Tangail and Naogaon are the most at risk.

The highest number of street children is addicted to cannabis for it is easily available and comparatively cheap. 31.7 per cent of the street children smoke cannabis.

Meanwhile, 15.2 per cent are addicted to 'dandi' which is also easily available and cheap. Consumption of 'dandi' causes loss of appetite. The study suggested it detaches them from the social reality and they can fall asleep anywhere.

Muhammad Omar Faruk, a professor at the department of criminology and police science of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University informed Prothom Alo, street children suffer from frustration because of the deprivation they face. They are thus easy to influence. Plus, they can easily be used as drug carriers as they are poor.

He mentioned that it is essential to take legal steps against those who are using street children as drug carriers. He further said that this crisis will not end unless a state initiative is taken to preserve the basic rights of the street children after including them in the mainstream of the society. Different social organisations can take initiative in this regard as well, he added.