Can our war on drugs be won? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 14, 2019

Can our war on drugs be won?

We should take lessons from other countries

Due to the law enforcement agencies' heightened vigilance on yaba trafficking, smugglers and peddlers are now going to great lengths to smuggle yaba across the country. As reported by this newspaper, traffickers are now using air routes. This certainly poses a new challenge to the law enforcement agencies' efforts to contain the drug problem because our airports lack the logistical resources to detect drugs being trafficked. This new trend of drug trafficking shows why measures so far taken to combat it may not work fully.

In terms of law enforcement measures, the authorities should focus on targeting kingpins that control the business. Unfortunately, while many traders or peddlers might have been targeted in the anti-drug drive, few known bigwigs have so far been detained or prosecuted.

As numerous experiences across the world show, the supply of drugs will always find a way as long as there's sufficient demand. Tough measures may disrupt the supply chain for some time, but the traffickers almost always can circumvent obstacles. And, it's really difficult for law enforcers to devise new combative strategies to cope with drug traffickers' “innovative” tactics.

Therefore, the authorities concerned should launch intensive awareness-raising campaigns. Young people must be made aware of the dangerous consequences that come with addiction to drugs such as yaba.

Moreover, as experienced by other countries that have attempted to curb drug addiction, better results can be attained if the problem is viewed as a public health issue. More resources should be allocated to addiction treatment and rehabilitation. Only a combination of anti-drug campaign, public health policies and law enforcement measures can make a long-lasting effect when it comes to combating the drug problem.

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