About 60% of the prisoners in Bangladeshi prisons were involved in the drug trade, said the home minister at a discussion on the role of the private sector in curing drug addiction.
The amount of money involved in the drug trade has to be ascertained and the Department of Narcotics Control will be given instructions to conduct research in this regard, said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal at the programme organised by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) at Cirdap Auditorium in the capital Monday.
He said witnesses cannot be found in trials of drug cases, which delays trials.
"However, special arrangements have been made in this regard. Those involved in the drug trade are now being punished and the demand for drugs will decrease when stakeholders see this," he added.
The home minister added that the Border Guard Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Coast Guard are being trained for preventing the entry of drugs through borders.
He also said emphasis should be placed on correction, not punishment, and the media has to play a vital role in this regard. At the divisional level, 200-bed hospitals for treating drug addiction are being established.
Khandaker Farzana Rahman, professor of Criminology at Dhaka University, said crime is related to drugs. Non-government organisations and the private sector should come forward to cure drug addiction. She said textbooks should mandatorily include lessons on the harmful effects of drugs and also recommended the mandatory appointment of psychologists at every educational institution.
Dr Rashed Al-Mahmoud Titumir, a Dhaka University professor, said the drug trade is illegal, but it is a very profitable business that greatly encourages the demand and supply of drugs. A large number of drug users are young people, who are also the largest productive group in society. But the country is suffering economically due to their addiction to drugs.
CGS Chairman Dr Manjur Ahmed Chowdhury said resistance should be prioritised over prevention to alleviate drug addiction.
Families can play the most important role in drug addiction treatment and state policies, good governance, and accountability must also be ensured to remedy this problem.