Drugs and Law
Drugs & Law in Bangladesh
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Bangladesh is a signatory to all three UN Conventions on drug abuse and trafficking, namely the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988.
The Narcotics Control Act of 1990 (Act no XX of 1990) covers the control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, including provision for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent people. Bangladesh has amended the narcotics act and allows the Director General of the Department of Narcotics Control to send drug addicts for treatment. Drug use is considered as a treatable condition rather than a criminal offence.
The 1990 Drug Control Act was amended in 2002 and 22 precursor chemicals, as stated in Tables I and II of the 1988 Convention, were included. Section 19 and 20 of the Act prohibits any kind of illegal operations regarding narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances as well as precursor chemicals. Additionally, rules relating to the licensing of precursor chemicals were framed and adopted.
Institutions and policy
In Bangladesh, the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for implementing drug law enforcement and drug abuse control programmes guided by a ministerial level National Narcotics Control Board (NNCB). DNC has an intelligence-gathering and operational role and oversees the implementation of demand reduction initiatives. It is also charged with co-coordinating the efforts of the other Bangladesh enforcement agencies (police, customs, Bangladesh Rifles and coastguard). The DNC does not collate national arrest and seizure statistics, in part because the other agencies are reluctant to disclose the necessary material.
The Department of Narcotics Control has recently initiated a community level of coordination to streamline the activities of the non-governmental organizations to strengthen existing and future drug prevention activities in the country. With assistance from UNODC, the process of formation of a national network of GOs and NGOs has been initiated through training for stakeholders held in March 2004 in Dhaka. Four network formation meetings have been held in the divisions of Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna and Rajshahi.
In Bangladesh, prisons come under the preview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. They are run by the prison directorate and manned by the Inspector General of Prisons and his staff of 7,620. The prisons are overcrowded by about 290% and 60% of the prison population is in remand (ICPS 2004). Conducting treatment programmes