Drug Addiction in Bangladesh

The effect of the drug related problem is unbelievable. It is intense and deep. That’s why now, Bangladesh wants to get rid of it’s Drug addiction problem. But it is not an easy task.We need to know the depth of the problem as well as the real causes of drug addiction in Bangladesh. Without knowing the situation properly nobody can overcome the obstacle. Not even the Government.

But before we know further about its drug addiction problem, we need to know about the country; Bangladesh.

It is a beautiful country situated in Southasia. It has resources of many kinds, natural resource is one of them; Vast beautiful landscapes and fertile lands are the hallmark of its pride. Though beautiful it has a landmass not more than 1,47,570 square kilometers. And has a high population density.

Being a small country with a large population, Bangladesh is not free of problems. It has an approximate population of 160 million. And most of them are youth. Some 47.6 million people are aged under 25. And that’s a huge number. Almost 30% of the population currently living in Bangladesh are young energetic people. And here begins the problem of Drug addiction that many misses at a first glance. And it is a severe one.

Bangladesh Flag

Image: Map of Bangladesh

Drug addiction is a problem that not only bleeds Bangladesh but also the whole world. There is not a single country in the world which is free of this monster. Recent years saw a sharp rise in drug addiction problem. And that is really an alarming situation. Having a huge population makes the equation hard enough for Bangladesh to solve and if 30% of that number belongs to youth, then it is a problem which needs more than normal attention and resource allocation to face the challenge.

But first we need to have a clear idea about drug addiction. What it is and how it is actually affecting the society.

What is drug addiction:

Addiction is a physical and psychological inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing physical and psychological damage.

When a person experiences addiction, they cannot control how they use a substance or partake in an activity. They literally have no control over their body or mind. And very sadly, they become dependent on it to cope with their everyday life. It is a hard situation for them personally and also for their family.

The term addiction does not only refer to dependence on substances such as heroin or cocaine. A person who cannot stop taking a particular drug or chemical has a substance dependence.

Addiction is a chronic disease. Addicted person lose the ability to regulate their normal daily life without further complicating the situation.

How can somebody be sure that their loved ones are drug dependent?

There are many symptoms from which anybody can come to a conclusion whether they or their friends, family members, Colleagues and loved ones are addicted or not.

The Drug addiction symptoms are:

Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include, among others:

  • Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day
  • Having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts
  • Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Taking larger amounts of the drug over a longer period of time than you intended
  • Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
  • Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
  • Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
  • Continuing to use the drug, even though you know it’s causing problems in your life or causing you physical or psychological harm
  • Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
  • Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
  • Spending a good deal of time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug
  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug

All these symptoms are found here: Drug addiction (substance use disorder) – Symptoms and


It is very important for us to know the real situation of our loved ones. When we understand their situation, we can act properly.

The situation of Drug addiction in Bangladesh:

Let’s admit this harsh truth first-

Drug addiction in Bangladesh is a huge problem. It is not a recent one but it is wide spread now more than ever and raising at a tremendous rate. Several organizations like the United Nations and WHO are really concerned about the increase of drug addiction at this alarming rate.

Current rate of drug abuse and addiction is so high that Government had to go hard line for stopping this disaster.

And it is not the end-

Drug abuse and addiction continues to be a global issue. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), about 5% of the global population used an illicit drug in 2010 alone, and about 27 million or 0.6 percent of the adult population of the world can be categorized as drug abusers.

But in Bangladesh the situation is much more dire. Nearly 10% of outpatients have a history of drug addiction involving Dangerous drugs like Heroin, Yaba, Cough syrup and other synthetic drugs. And they come from every class of the present socio- economic system. Virtually all segments of society are severely affected by this problem. Near about 25 lakh people are drug addicted. In Bangladesh about 80 percent of the drug addicts are adolescents and young men of 15 to 30 years of age; Both Man and woman are included here in this number.

People from all economic classes and all walks of life are heavily affected by illegal drugs in Bangladesh right now.

A pie chart is given below-

Drug addicted in percentage:

Found the information here: (PDF) Drug Addiction in Bangladesh and its Effect

We must stop drug trafficking and illegal drugs to prevent the society from deteriorating any further. Its disastrous effect on society is killing our youth and our future.

A report from a prominent online news portal bdnews.24 claims that the original number of addicted people is much higher than 25 lakh or 2.5 million. They are quoting some high ranked gov. Officials and saying that the number is at least 7 million.

“Bangladesh has at least 7 million drug addicts and 5 million of them are hooked on yaba pills, according to people familiar with the situation.

The government has no statistics on the drug addicts, but the Department of Narcotics Control Director General Md Jamal Uddin Ahmed supports the statistics of the non-government organisations working on eliminating drugs.

“The department does not have its own statistics,”

Jamal Uddin said, “But according to those who work on these issues, the number of drug addicts is about 7 million. The department supported the statistics.”

The information was taken from here: Bangladesh has 7 million drug addicts, ‘over half of them

are addicted to yaba’

Drugs that are available in Bangladesh :

Many kinds of drugs are now available in Bangladesh which have a drastic effect on people’s health. There are opium, Cannabis and many other kinds-

Available drugs in Bangladesh are shown in a table:

Kinds of drugsNameNameNameName
Cannabis (Marijuana)GanjaChoroshBhanghashish
Sleeping pillTranquilizerDiazepam
Cough syrupPhensedyl (codeine,pseudo ephedrine and chlorpheniramin e)Dexpoten

This table shows the various kinds of illicit drugs found in Bangladeshi market.

But why Bangladesh is in so much danger compared to other nations in the world? One prominent reason is Geography and geopolitics.

If you search for Bangladesh in the map you will find that, Bangladesh is situated at a unique place in the world. It is in the middle of “The Golden Triangle” and “The Golden Crescent”. Both of them have a reputation for illicit drug trafficking and opium production.

In a full length research paper “Drug abuse and its impact on Bangladesh” published by Mr. Azizul Islam and Md. Faruque Hossain discussed this issue in an elaborate manner.

“Bangladesh is situated in the crucial point between the ‘golden triangle’ (Mayanmar, Thailand and Laos) and the ‘golden crescent’ (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) in terms of geographical location. Also, it is surrounded by the major drug producing countries of Asia, many of which are strengthening their narcotics legislation and stepping up enforcement measures. Bangladesh with its easy land, sea, and air access is becoming a major transit point. Traffickers who supply drugs in the markets of Northern America, Africa, and Europe are routing their shipments through Dhaka, Chittagong, Comilla, Khulna and other routes in Bangladesh (SAARC Forum, 1995; Rahman et al., 2000 a, b; Ahmad, 2001; Sani, 2010; The Daily Star, 2013; Shemul, 2017). It is believed that with the increasing quantity of the wares more and more people are likely to get involved in drug business. In this way, it ultimately contributes to the number of drug abusers as well.”

Found the information here: Drug abuse and its impact on Bangladesh

A thesis named “Drug Addiction in Urban Life of Bangladesh: A Sociological Study for Exploring the Causes” done by “Md. Abul Hasam” & “Md. Mushahid” explores the problems of drug addiction and the causes of it in urban areas of bangladesh. There it is said that:

“Abuse of drugs has potential threats on personal and social health. The issues that usually follow drug addiction can be identified as loss of interest in work, indifference to family responsibility, loss of ability to concentrate, which may impair family relations, increase in sexual demand or misbehavior, violence or social nuisance and boosting up of uncounted criminal offences as mentioned . Drug addiction does not harm individual addicts only; it affects their families and the society as a whole. Due to drug addiction, criminal activities are increasing at an alarming rate all over the country, especially in urban areas like Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet.”

“What are the Causes of drug addiction in Bangladesh” is a vital question now. And needs immediate answer…

We need to know the reasons if we want to get rid of it. There is no other way around. Because it has a heavy cost. Drug addiction beings on rapid erosion of values, educational and cultural, moral and family values that we hold dear. That makes our society functional. The addicts lose their professional and educational capabilities, lose self-dignity, self confidence and get involved in serious crimes or petty criminal activities. It is so sad that the sole aim in life of an addict becomes the procurement and use of drugs.

Drug addiction in Bangladesh has many reasons. They are diverse, sometimes they are personal, sometimes social. Financial crisis is also very prominent reason working behind this

Disaster. The same thesis we mentioned before by Mr. Hasam and Md. Mushahid describes the danger of drug abuse. They said-

“Drug addiction has become one of the major problems of Bangladesh. It is not only a problem for public health but also corrupting many institutions. It slows down socio-economic development, threats any kind of political stability and in some cases it is endangering even state security. Drug addiction does not harm individual addicts only; it affects their families and the society as a whole. It paralyzes the life of the addicts. Disrupts peace and prosperity of families and even shakes the stability of the social structure itself. It also brings moral degradation, generating different social problems and crimes like theft, robbery, hijacking and terrorism.”


There is no certain agreement about the causes of drug addiction because the causes of drug use are frequent and varied. It has no easy linear narrative by which we can describe the causes easily. They comprise individual and family characteristics, social and environmental factors, financial and political issues, Geographical and historical lineage.

From the research paper of “Drug abuse and its impact on Bangladesh” we find that causes of drug addiction has different kinds and not all of them are equally harmful. They have dissimilar percentage; some of them are very prevalent but others are not very high in the effect scale.

The table below shows the findings of their research-

VariableNo. of respondentsPercentage
Unemployment problem/economic insolvency100100.0
Encouragement from friends/peer pressure100100.0
Mental stress due to family problem/frustration from family matters100100.0
Easy access to drugs8888.0
To get immediate relief from tension7878.0
Surrounding atmosphere1010.0

Table- 2 (Showing the various reasons for drug addiction and their percentage)

From researcher’s own narration what we can understand is that-

“The results revealed that all of the drug users addiction to drugs was unemployment problem/economic insolvency (100%), encouragement from friends/peer pressure (100%), mental stress due to family problem/frustration from family matters (100%), almost all of the drug users addiction to drugs was easy access to drugs (88%) and to get immediate relief from tension (78%), only a few of the drug users addicted to drugs was surrounding atmosphere (10%) and curiosity (17%).”

If we need to pinpoint some main causes of drug addiction, we can not avoid the following ones-

Social reasons-

-Family problems such as love deficiency, parental addiction, loss of loved ones.

-Peer pressure


-Problems in School, College and University.

Financial reasons-


-Lack of family support

-Unstable economy

Political and Geographical reasons-


-Lack of basic rights

-Political instability

-Easy access to drugs due to geographical condition.

Personal reasons-



-Poor self esteem

-Physical abuse

-Failed romance

Drug abuse is a multidimensional problem, and it should be viewed from a multidimensional perspective and be addressed accordingly.

The government should involve both the family and society, because they are the two most effective and important institutions to reduce drug addiction. Bangladesh government should have strong drug policy. Within that policy they need to cover both the preventive and curative issues. These two institutions working side by side with the government and nongovernmental organization can play a vital role in the reduction of drug demand. And it has the possibility to prevent drug abuse in the country.

All these urgently demand major policy and institutional reforms. Which involves all the concerned corners for effective response to combat drug abuse in the country.

Ultimately “NOBODY” wants to be an addict, and “NOBODY” wants to remain that way their whole life. But once someone becomes an addict, it is very hard for them to change the course. Without the help of every institution of society (Family, Government and others) it is impossible to get rid of this curse.

And a country like Bangladesh needs to take effective action, not a rush one if it wants to end this drug addiction problem for life. It cannot fight this war alone so, help from every corner of the society is badly needed.