Dangerous drugs must be stopped at the border

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

When the use of phensedyl had increased in Bangladesh, many new phensedyl factories had sprung up in border-lying areas of India. When phensedyl’s use inside Bangladesh declined, those factories shut down.

Phensedyl used to come from India, now narcotics which are several times more harmful than phensedyl are flooding in from Myanmar. The drug traders bring newer shipments into the country.

Since 700,000 plus Rohingyas arrived in Bangladesh after being driven out from Myanmar in 2017, smuggling of narcotics has increased as well. The government’s so-called gunfights and all-out drives it couldn’t improve the situation.

Those who are entrusted with the responsibility of defending the border (be it the coast guard or BGB) must have some shortcomings in performing their duties, otherwise narcotics worth millions couldn’t have entered the country. And, if the narcotics cross the border once, it will reach the buyers or consumers on way or another.

After phensedyl, yaba used to come in greater quantities. Now ice is replacing yaba. Chief chemical examiner at the forensic lab of the Department of Narcotics Control, Dulal Krishna Saha, told Prothom Alo, the main reason behind ice’s demand soaring high in the country is that yaba consist only 10 to 15 per cent of methamphetamine (a chemical component) while ice consists 96 per cent of that.

Consuming it in small amount creates temporary physical and mental reaction. That’s why former yaba addicts are interested in taking ice, he added.

Yaba and ice, both are severely harmful narcotics.  For youths who become addicted to these narcotics, it doesn’t only ruin their lives but threatens to destroy their whole family. It also has a huge impact on the society. It creates criminal tendencies among adolescents and youths.

The recovery of 66 kilogram of ice or crystal meth raises concern.

United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that of all the narcotics that enter the market only 10 per cent is recovered. If that’s the case we have to assume that the amount of narcotics consumed is nine times higher than what’s recovered.

Whereas our sea and land borders are constantly guarded by our border guards, how do these narcotics enter the country?

The government’s first and foremost duty is to ensure complete security along the border. Random and isolated raids won’t be effective. And, there must be constant surveillance.

The risks Rohingyas have created on the socio-economic life of Bangladesh, this narcotic isn’t doing any less harm than that. If the country wants to be freed from the clutches of narcotics, it must be stopped from flowing into the country.

Many experts have advised erecting barbed wire fence along the land border we share with Myanmar.

Constructing barbed wire or fences or concrete walls won’t come to any use if there’s any lacking or negligence on the part of the forces engaged in protecting the border when it comes to protecting the border.

We have seen many anti-narcotic drives, conducted just for show. This time let there be a sustainable and round-the-clock drive. There’s no alternative to protect the country from the terrible clutches of drugs.