By Asraful Huq
DHAKA, Feb 09, 2017 (BSS) - The government has formed so far anti-narcotics committees in 24,299 schools as part of an intensified anti-drug campaign, enforcing an extra vigil on English medium schools and private universities, officials said today.
"We have constituted 24,299 anti-drug committees till January this year at schools, colleges and universities with an aim to make aware students about danger of drug abuse," Narcotics Control Department's (DNC) deputy director Rabiul Islam told BSS today.
He added: "We laid an extra vigil on private universities and English medium schools as some students of the institutes have been engaged in taking different drugs especially the contraband Yaba due to its availability."
The official said DNC held a number of discussions and seminars at different educational institutions across the country such as North South University throughout the last month as part of the campaign.
Islam official said DNC planned to form identical committees at every educational institution and bring them under a network to spearhead a concerted anti-drug campaign.
The government took the move in 2009 with first forming 5,779 committees when the students were getting increasingly inclined towards taking drugs and similar narcotic substances.
Head of each educational institution were made the chief of such five-member committees while physical or religious teacher were made member secretary of the committee.
Three other members of the committees are: a teachers' representative, a guardian, and a student.
These committees usually hold their meetings once in the month's end to discuss the darker sides of the abuse of drugs to keep them away from the menace.
Besides, each committee in collaboration with the respective district administration hold a broad-based discussion on the worst side of drugs and narcotics side by side with distributing anti-drug posters, leaflets, souvenirs, bulletins, brochures and booklets among the students.
Records suggest the drug addiction of one victimize individuals, families and communities with addicts getting engaged in petty theft to mugging and even in murders.
In some countries, drug related crime account for up to 90% of all crimes.
Asked if there was any statistics on drug addicts in schools, the DNC official answered in the negative but said their findings suggested students in bigger cities were more exposed to drug addictions.
Available studies say more than five million people are drug addicts in the country with 80 percent of them aging between 15 and 35 years and mostly being students.
Talking to BSS, a student of Class X in a city school said such anti-narcotics committee meetings involving all responsible people yield fruitful results to keep learners away from drug addiction.
"The city life is very difficult and we are proud that our guardians and teachers are especially concerned about us," he said.
Aleya Begum, mother of a girl student, told BSS that her lovely daughter was about to be a victim of addiction due to bad company but "Allah saved her as she has got a warning message from such a meeting at her school".
"The committees are working effectively in many educational institutions . . . . they set good examples in drug-prone areas, where repeated meetings worked well," DNC additional director Golam Kibria told BSS.
As part of the awareness campaign, he said, DNC for the first time took a stall in the Ekushey Book Fair at Bangla Academy.
"Many people particularly the students are visiting the stall and want to know the adverse impact of taking drugs and the way of leaving the habit from our councilors," he said.
DNC, however, took a stall in International Trade Fair at Dhaka in 2016 "which also got huge response from the people," Kibria said.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)