Yaba-ice influx: Why are the borders not secured?

Crystal meth is entering Bangladesh through the border with Myanmar, revealed a recent report of Prothom Alo, exposing the failure of the government's anti-drug drive. The government is carrying out a serial drive against drugs. Large consignments of drugs are being seized, but the narcotics menace has not decreased in the least.

Referring to a study carried out by Dhaka University, BBC has said that over seven million people in Bangladesh are drug users at present. There was a time when the general assumption was that only frustrated youth resorted to drugs, but various operations have revealed that people of all ages, professions and circumstances use drugs. In fact, many members of the law enforcement too are addicted to different kinds of drugs.

None of the huge amount of drugs used in Bangladesh is made in the country. The drugs come in through river, road and air routes and are often caught too. Phensedyl used to be the main narcotic drug used in Bangladesh and many phensedyl factories had sprung up in India along the border with Bangladesh. However, after the arrival of yaba from Myanmar in 2000, drug users and suppliers turned to that. Millions of yaba pills began to stream in across the border from Myanmar every year.

The government on one hand talks about zero tolerance towards drugs, yet there are persons within the ruling party itself who are known as yaba kings

According to the Department of Narcotics Control, last year the law enforcement recovered 38.4 million yaba pills. The year before, in 2019, a total of 34.4 million pills were seized. BGB is guarding the border, the coast guard is patrolling the coast. There are forces to watch the air route too. So it is hardly feasible for the drugs to enter the country without the complicity of the responsible persons at the borders and the airport.

Just as the more dangerous yaba replaced phensedyl in the past, now yaba is being replaced by 'ice', LSD and other drugs. These drugs are many times more lethal than yaba.

We could not prevent the influx of 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar. Tortured and driven from their own country, these people fled into Bangladesh and the government, for humanitarian reasons, gave them shelter. But why can't we prevent the influx of yaba, ice and other drugs from Myanmar? Do those concerned have no idea how harmful these drugs are for Bangladesh and its population?

The government on one hand talks about zero tolerance towards drugs, yet there are persons within the ruling party itself who are known as yaba kings. There will be no use in letting these people off the hook while netting just the small fry in operations which are nothing more than eyewash.

The death of retired army major Sinha is just an indication of how dangerous the consequences can be of the government's so-called gunfights against drug smugglers and users. There are allegations that many members of the law enforcement are connected to the drug trade. Unless action is taken against them, no anti-drug drive can be successful.

Halt the influx of drugs from across the border and automatically drug dealing and the use of drugs will come under control within the country. Those in charge of protecting the borders must be held accountable.