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Bangladesh - Health - February 20, 2022

Ice occupying place of Yaba

Ice of over Tk 100cr entering country each year

Golam Mostafa Jibon:Crystal Methamphetamine or Ice of more than Tk 100 crore is entering into the country each year as the highly addictive narcotic has already occupied the place of Yaba due to lax-vigilance of the concerned law enforcers.
The drug smugglers are now using the same Yaba trafficking route for smuggling of the Crystal Methamphetamine or Ice into Bangladesh.
Experts said that, the negative impact of information technology and modernization, family and social pressures are causing frustration and depression among the youths. As a result, moral values are being eroded. Consequently, many young people are becoming addicted to drugs. The demand for drugs is increasing day by day as the number of such exhausted youths is increasing. Smuggling is also increasing to meet that demand. The type of drug is also changing year by year to meet their demand. At one time, the country’s drug market was dominated by hemp, phensidyl, heroin and Yaba, but recently the harmful drug Ice (methamphetamine) or crystal meth has spread largely.
According to the law enforcers, Ice or crystal meth worth over Tk 100 crores is entering into the country every year. A few of them is being seized by the law enforcers. Although, various agencies including law enforcement agencies are working to destroy the drug market, this high value drug is coming from the neighboring countries through border routes. However, the concerned officials are talking about intensifying the campaign to stop drugs including Ice.
Disadvantages of taking Ice:
Ice is a more deadly drug than Phensidyl even Yaba. The amount of amphetamine, the main ingredient of Yaba, is much higher in Ice. Ice harms the human body many times more than Yaba. It increases the risk of insomnia, hyperactivity, amnesia, brain disorders, stroke, heart disease, kidney and liver complications, mental fatigue and depression. It has negative impact both physically and mentally. As a result of the introduction of this drug, the mental development of the youth is being hindered and abnormal behavior is being observed. Youths are being addicted to this drug and getting engaged in various crimes.
According to a research, drug traffickers are more prevalent in countries where youth is more prevalent. Drug traders use various tactics to spread drugs in those places. As it is easy to know the overall situation of all the countries of the world using the technology, the traffickers communicate to spread the drug in the targeted places. They ake various trafficking tactics.
Sources said, a large part of the population in Bangladesh is youth group. That is why, this country is one of the targets of drug dealers. Most of the drugs here, including Ice, come from different countries, most of which come from Myanmar and India. The bulk portion of the Ice is entering into the country from Myanmar. The drug is coming to the country through Teknaf, St. Martin Island and surrounding areas of Cox’s Bazar. Ice is being brought in various ways like sometimes in pickles, sometimes in packets of clothes and sometimes in packets of tea. Many influential people are also involved with the trade.
36 kg of Ice seized in 2021:
According to the Department of Narcotics Control, the first Ice or crystal meth was caught in Bangladesh on February 26 in 2019. About five grams of Ice was seized from a house in Jigatala of the capital. After that consignment, 522 grams of Ice was seized in Khilkhet of the capital in June of that year. Due to the various activities of the law enforcement agencies that year and the year after that in 2020, the number of Ice smuggling came down.
In 2019, the Narcotics Control Department seized a total of 561 grams of Ice. The following year, in 2020, all agencies including the Department of Narcotics Control, Bangladesh PolIce, Border Guard Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and Coast Guard seized 0.65 grams of Ice. But in 2021, this drug came in a worrying form. Various agencies including the Department of Narcotics Control, Bangladesh PolIce, Border Guard Bangladesh, RAB and Coast Guard seized 36 kg 694 grams of Ice last year. The price of the Ice is about Tk 60 to Tk 70 crore as per Tk 15,000 to Tk 20,000 per gram.
During the seizure of these drugs, 35 traffickers were also arrested. 32 cases were filed against them. Concerned people said that, even though the law enforcement forces seized more than 36 kg of Ice last year, more have entered into the country. All in all, Ice worth over Tk 100 crore entered into the country last year.
According to Border Guard Bangladesh, in January this year alone, the company seized 21 kg 239 gram of Ice. This amount of seized drugs in one month shows how fast the high priced drug is spreading in this country.
Deputy Director of the Department of Narcotics Control (Operations) Ahsanur Rahman said, “Drugs change one pattern after another. Ice is such a new version, which is very addictive. Where there is money, there is a state of intoxication. Bangladesh is currently moving from underdeveloped to developing country. That is why, drug addiction is increasing in the country as well as in developed countries. Moreover, Bangladesh is located between the Golden Crescent (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) and the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam). In particular, Myanmar, a country in the Golden Triangle, borders us. The drug called Ice is coming to our country from Myanmar. The Ice that is being caught is destroyed by the court.”
He also said, “The online drug business has grown as a result of technology. At one time, hemp or Yaba was a trade spot. Now drug business is going on through online and smartphones. Drugs are being traded through virtual communication. Work is underway to form a new cyber crime cell to control it. Besides, a big action plan has been taken with the conscious citizens to build a social movement.”
“A separate court is needed to deal with drug cases by increasing the manpower,” he added.
Bangladesh PolIce Headquarters Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Haider Ali Khan said, “the government’s zero tolerance policy against drugs is being implemented by all including law enforcement, BGB and Coast Guard. However, a new drug called Ice has emerged. Once upon a time, there was Phensidyl, heroin and Yaba. Now Ice has emerged the country. A domestic and international clique is involved in the drug trade in various ways. They must be stopped now.”
Haider Ali Khan further said, “The big platform (field) of drug-centric communication is now online. This type of drug is transacted from person to person. As a result, our country lacks some of the tools, training and capabilities, which needs to control it. We are trying to overcome these. But socially, people should also have a strong position against drugs.”
7 million drug addicts in the country:
The Department of Narcotics Control does not have any statistics on the number of drug addicts in the country. However, there are over 7 million of drug addicts in the country, said unauthorized sources. According to Manas, a non-governmental organization, the drug and drug prevention agency, 80 percent of the country’s drug addicts are young. Drug addicts use drugs worth over Tk 7,000 crore a year. Most of these drug addicts are addicted to Yaba. Recently, the number of Ice takers is also increasing. The price of this drug, which can be consumed through smoke, tablets or injections, is much higher, so the boys and girls of rich families take more Ice. It is in high demand among the urban elite including Dhaka and Chattogram.
Health experts opinion:
Analysts said that, more drugs are out of reach of all agencies, including law enforcement, than the amount seized. Therefore, in order to prevent its spread, it is necessary to increase surveillance in trafficking routes or supply areas. Mental health experts said that steps should be taken to stop it. At the same time, strict measures have to be taken to bring drug traffickers under the law.
Associate Professor of the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital Ahmed Helal said that, “The new type of drug, Ice, is a type of amphetamine group that stimulates the brain. Stimulation is increased among the people after taking this drug. Sleep deprivation, loss of appetite and behavioral abnormalities. Consumption of Ice for a long time can lead to long term mental health problems. It may cause of a sudden heart attack. Kidney, liver and various types of physical damage can also occur. This drug causes behavioral problems in a person and also causes symptoms of mental illness.”
Dhaka University Professor of Criminology and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Zia Rahman said, “One drug after another is coming in the country. When the import and demand of a drug decreases, the users resort to new types of drugs. As modernization has brought about a change in lifestyle, people resort to new types of drugs for recreation. With that comes frustration and stress. Ice is not very popular in the developed world now. Trafficking has started in Bangladesh now due to lax-vigilance of the law enforcers.”
“In order to stop drugs, both demand and supply must be reduced. The only way to curb the spread of drugs is to take steps to curb our frustration, chaos or turbulent life, and to eliminate the negative aspects of money laundering and modernization. Noting that even though the borders of the developed world are secure, human trafficking and drug smuggling are taking place, Zia said adding that whenever something happens, they bring it under control. The border areas of our country are not very secure. As a result, we have to work to reduce drug smuggling as well as drug addiction. This requires increasing the involvement of drug addicts in social, cultural activities and sports. Moral education and economic inequality must also be eliminated. If we can rehabilitate, not only Ice, but also the spread of all kinds of drugs will come to down.”

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