The United Nations’ (UN) International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was celebrated across the world on June 26. The special day was celebrated to raise awareness about the major problem that illicit drugs inflict on society. The day was supported by individuals, communities and various organisations all over the world.
This year’s theme of the day was “Better knowledge for better care”. According to a statement of the United Nations, the theme emphasized the need to improve the understanding of the global drug problem and how in turn, better knowledge will foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health.Many international communities campaign against drug abuse. They are urging people: “Let us develop our lives, our communities, our identities without drugs”. An awareness campaign for this year stated that “… the UN office on Drugs and Crime uses the commemorative day to highlight the dangers of drug use and their illegal trade and provides educational material to teachers and public officials all over the world to help spread the message about the extreme cultural and economic harm….”
All governments call upon the people to join hands in implementing the national programme of action against alcohol abuse. Most of them urge people to “Say No to Drugs”. Anyway, both drugs and alcohol are harmful to health. Despite this, usage of drugs and alcohol is increasing day-by-day.
According to a data of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), “… As many as 114 patients (on average) took treatment at public and private rehabilitation centres every day in 2019. The number was 104 in 2018 while it was 69 in 2017.” A statement issued by the Association for the Prevention of Drug Abuse has stated that in 2019, the number of drug addicts in Bangladesh was around 6,600,000 and the total users were around 7.5 million. It is also disheartening to learn that many of our children are getting involved in drug addiction for its easy availability and cheap price. Thirty percent street children in Dhaka are drug addicts. A research shows that “the social problems associated with drug abuse include unemployment, homelessness and poverty as its ‘key roots’. These can drive people towards crimes, incarceration, transmission of HIV due to IV drug use and high-risk sexual behaviour.”
All these prove that drug and alcohol are reasons for many harmful activities in any society. Therefore, it must be kept under control by any means.
Islam is a peaceful religion for mankind that provides a solution to the problem. About 1,400 years ago, Islam had prohibited (haram) intake of drugs and alcohol understanding their harmful effects. The Qur’an states, “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, (sacrificing on)stone alters (to other than Allah), and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, 5: 90) Islam does not only prohibit alcohol, but also anything or any substance that intoxicates. For examples, Beer, Yaaba, Opium; Heroin, et cetera are also prohibited (haram) in Islam. `Umar Ibn al-Khattab (r.) declared from the pulpit of the Prophet (PBUH) that “Khamr is that which befogs the mind.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim.) Ibn Taymiyya states that “there is no difference between alcohol and all other types of intoxicants and that the user is to be subjected to corporal (hadd) punishment.” (Quoted from: Taqiuddin Ibn Taymiyya Majmu’ al-Fatawa.) Islam also prohibits its trade or any association with these all.
Besides law enforcers, parents, relatives, friends and members of society can play their due role in preventing drugs and alcohol and helping proper rehabilitation of drug users in society. “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Al-Qur’an, Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:2).On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, everyone took vow to build a society free from harmful drugs and alcohol.
The writer is a scholar in Islamic studies and researcher on Islamic views on contemporary issues. (Email: [email protected])