Treatment on a national scale for drug addicts is negligible in comparison to the extent of addiction all over the country. While innumerable young people all over Bangladesh are in the grips of this crippling addiction, there are only four government-run institutions for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts. And according to media reports, the state of these institutions is deplorable. These centres themselves need to receive treatment before these can treat the patients.
The four centres – one in Tejgaon, Dhaka and one each in Chattogram, Khulna and Rahshahi, are acutely lacking in infrastructure, physicians and staff. Not only do the patients remain uncured, but they are at risk of contracting all sorts of diseases in the unhygienic conditions of these centres.
There is no accurate figure as to how many persons are addicted to drugs in Bangladesh. However, according estimates of certain physicians of the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, there are over 5.6 million drug addicts in the country. However, a study conducted by the Forensic Training Institute of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police, puts this figure at 6.6 million.
Given the paucity of treatment, cure and rehabilitation of drug addicts, innumerable private centres have sprung up all over the capital city and in other parts of the country. There are 351 such private treatment centres all over the country. In Dhaka alone there are 105. However, it is assumed that there may be many more such centres operating without government approval. These centres offer sub-standard treatment where there is actually hardly any chance of cure.
This must be brought to a halt. The government must monitor the situation and also increase its initiatives in this regard. Most importantly, the easy availability of drugs must be sternly clamped down upon.