Multipronged policies against drug menace

1 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Successful handling of such complex issues as drug menace presupposes multi-pronged policy measures and action plans. Lopsided emphasis on one to the neglect of others is very unlikely to produce expected results.

Smuggling in and reaching drug, especially the so called crazy medicine Yaba, to the doorsteps of every addict and potential users in all possible corners have developed to a menacing proportion, with a countrywide network of thousands of peddlers and fabulous profit margin for the drug barons. Naturally, the drug kingpins are not docile by nature; they are desperate to ensure super profit from the criminal business and do not hesitate to resort to all possible crimes to manage the drug empire. The drug addicts also get involved – first in petty and then serious – crimes to collect money for the toxic substances. Drug business thus leads to gradualcriminalisation of the entire society usually with irreversible moral and ethical degradation of the addicts.

So, the drug business is already a complex issue with multifaceted socio-economic and legal implications.The barons, petty peddlers and addicts cannot be treated in the same manner. While stringent measures are usually the only option to deal with the kingpins, both punitive and persuasive measures may be necessary for the peddlers, and persuasion and rehabilitation for the addicts.

Strict measures by law enforcement agencies have undoubtedly produced some results in containing the menace. While obligatory, such a way of action may not enough to get even better results. Soft measures like motivation against drug business and drug use may also be effective in producing lasting results.

Persuasion led to the surrender of a large number of petty peddlers. As part of the same policy, the government has also decided to provide financial assistance to these drug traders so that they return to normal life and do not go back to the illicit business. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina informed the House of the decision on Wednesday. It is expected that these sets of tough and soft measures will be effective in fighting the drug danger. However, financial assistance may not be a guarantee that they will no longer go back to old criminal pursuit. Surrender of many may be a trick to mislead the crime busters. They should always be kept under watchful eyes.