Photo: This photo belongs to Poisonous Mistress.
Developing countries like Bangladesh are bearing the brunt of global drug trade and trafficking.
Young people, including students, rickshaw-pullers, day-labourers, drivers, business and servicemen are being addicted to various types of drugs like hemp, yaba, Indian phensidyl syrup, pathedine, heroin etc.
Most of these drugs are smuggled into the country through the Indian border and also from the golden triangle countries, namely Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. Traffickers use different and varying routes.
Opium and hemp are cultivated covertly in the rural, border and hilly areas of Bangladesh with the unofficial help of local governments. Several poppy fields have been recently discovered within tobacco plants. Moreover, it is alleged that some certified drug producing companies illegally produce duplicate phensidyl syrup and yaba tablets and sell in the country. They also produce pathedine and morphine for sale in the country’s black market. Corrupt government officials and hospital authorities have been found to be involved in this trade.
Numerous national and international godfathers are reportedly behind this. They sometimes also play their part in the country’s politics, economics and state affairs. They spend money to buy corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in a bid to stop crackdowns on drug dealers and users.
A huge quantity of black money is generated by the drug trade and trafficking, which is also one of the causes of high inflation in developing countries, especially in a nation where the people use drugs abundantly. As a result, governments in developing countries are at times forced to take special tax measures to control the market economy through their revenue boards and stock markets. The black money is also used in arms and gold smuggling, money laundering and human trafficking.
In Dhaka alone at least one hundred mid-level godfathers control the under-world drug trade. A large number of youths and university students, too, are involved in this because of poverty, urban migration, breakdown in social service sector and overall student politics. As a result of these factors, the number of drug users in Bangladesh is increasing day by day.
There are numerous recorded and unrecorded incidents where governments have used the drug business to control the country’s internal politics as youths and students are the vital force in politics. If this young generation turns into drug addicts they would never try to be aware of the mass people’s condition and the country’s actual problems. These under-world dons are successively used by imperialist countries for their hidden interests.
According to a non-governmental report, drug addicts spend at least Tk. 500 million on narcotics every day, which comes down to Tk. 200 to 1,500 per head, but, sadly, there is no specific government data on this.
In South Asian countries injecting heroin and pathedine are contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS, and Bangladesh is especially vulnerable. Socio-economic and political consequences have already started to emerge.
The police are hardly ever able to recover significant amount of drugs during raids. Often the middle men or low-end dealers are arrested but the godfathers remain untouched.
There are many border points where money in millions changes hands daily. Chittagong and Mongla sea ports are the main exit points, while the rest is smuggled out through Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong airports. Drug traffickers also use courier services for drug trafficking, largely for their consumers in North America, Europe and South Africa. Unfortunately, Bangladesh serves as a corridor for international drug trafficking.
Some very powerful governments are also allegedly behind such operations in our region. Drug trafficking has its roots in British imperialism. Who can forget the Opium wars in China against the British crown? The same legacy continues to cast shadows on Bangladesh today, destroying our youth, who would otherwise be the torch-bearers of our civilization.