Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | ePaper

Drug trade and abuse

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A draft law has been approved in principle by the Cabinet which states that one could be sentenced to death for carrying, trading, storing or processing Yaba weighing over five grams.  The law placed at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday also said that death or life imprisonment could be meted out if any institution or individual supplies, patronises or invests or colludes in drug crimes.
Newspaper reports quoting Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam said the Narcotics Control Act was formulated in 1990 and it was being updated after 28 years in line with the UN conventions on Drug Trafficking and Narcotics Control, of which Bangladesh is a signatory. The draft law also introduced a provision for "dope tests" of suspects, and if anybody is found positive in a "dope test", the person could face five to 15 years jail.
We do congratulate the government for modernizing the old drug law taking present circumstances under active consideration. The draft law allows law enforcers to arrest everyone involved from the production to the final destination of drugs.
Several hundred people (alleged drug traders) have so far been killed and over 10, 000 others arrested in the last few months after law enforcement agencies, including Rapid Action Battalion, had declared a war against drugs. But the result is not yet satisfactory.   
At present, the Yaba comes in to Bangladesh from Myanmar. Despite several attempts by our Home Ministry and round-the-clock surveillance of Border Guard Bangladesh, the Yaba smuggling did not stop. It's a big question, how this contraband substance enters the country and how does it pass our border security forces? If our law enforcement agencies carry out their duties properly, can such vast amounts of drugs enter the country?
We think, sincerity and dutifulness of the concerned agencies is more important than formulation of a new law. First of all, the government will have to cut-off the supply chain. If the entry source is not properly surveiled it is impossible to stop drug abuse and trade inside the country.  

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