Vol. 5 Num 849 Sat. October 14, 2006  

Book Review
An act of social responsibility

Drugs have become today a very crucial problem all over the world. There is hardly any nation free from the menace. It disturbs individual, familial and social life. It poses a big threat to economy, culture and politics. It jeopardises the situation to a dismal frustration. Though it demands much awareness, no effective measure could yet be taken to fight this problem out for good.

Hopefully enough, Muzibur Rahman Howlader extensively deals with this problem and writes a very comprehensive book titled Narcotic Drugs Control and Crime Prevention. Through this book he provides us with a vista to scan whole drug-affected world -- Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and America -- at a glimpse. Supported with various charts and tables, he describes the things vividly, attracts the attention of readers towards the gravity of the crisis, and finally creates in them a conscious feeling as to the urgency of its prevention.

The book, though grew out of seminar papers, contains a compact thematic continuity and gradually connects and connotes the correlated thoughts and ideas together into a complete whole. It must not be out of place to mention that the topics dealt therein are all enlightening and indispensable. They include global and regional drug trade, its production and distribution, its trafficking and abuse, its effect up to transnational crimes and terrorism, its situation in Bangladesh and neighbouring states, its control activities -- suggestions for reduction, users' treatment, rehabilitation and so on. All these topics being clearly discussed make the readers aware of the whole drug situation at home and abroad. Besides these comprehensive details, the author further enriches his work with the inclusion of two very important things -- narcotic control act, rules and ordinances; and various convention reports, declarations and statements on narcotic crimes and abuse.

Much to the credit of the author, a minute study of the book exposes a dismal world beyond the periphery of normal affairs of life, and makes us feel how the hydra-headed drug monster works with its octopedic tentacles. As the world witnessed earlier the fatal effects of narcoterrorism, we do earnestly desire an effective way to prevent wars and insurgencies that might be cropped up out of it. And with a view to preventing all these, the necessity of this type of publication is simply great.

The state of drugs problem in Bangladesh should no more be considered small. No doubt, we are none of the Golden Triangle or the Golden Crescent countries, and our country is not a narcotic producing one either. Only cannabis, country liquor and C-class drugs are being traditionally made and used here by some ethnic groups and disadvantaged population. Yet it is a matter of much concern that Bangladesh has been increasingly used as transit route for easy drug trafficking to many European and American markets. If this situation continues, we apprehend a catastrophic disaster may befall us any time.

Reading the book we are taken by sheer awe seeing a very long list of drugs often used by addict. Besides heroin, cocaine, charash, opium and cannabis, various precursor chemicals like toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, potassium permanganate, acetic anhydride, pseudo-ephedrine, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, phensidyl, pethidine, morphine etc are being used in the most illicit way. It is quite threatening that 185 million people of the world are illegal drug consumers, of them majority belong to young age group, 15 million injecting drug users have reportedly HIV/AIDS infection, 44 percent of the drug users are directly or indirectly related to crimes.

Drug is deeply related to terrorism. The author strikes upon it and clearly shows how fatally illicit drug trafficking gives birth to organised crimes, corruption, money laundering, arms trade, insurgencies etc both nationally and internationally. Moral or religious scruples are little effective in this connection. Although the Quran prohibits intoxication, even then the Afghan Mujahideen guerillas were found ordering the peasants to grow opium as a revolutionary tax. However, the author throws much light on all these crises and inspires us to brood over.

Most optimistic it is that the author annexed related acts and rules in Part 2 of the book. It might go a long way increasing the level of the readers' consciousness and strengthening the public opinion as well. Only what we like to add at this moment is that, with that end in view, we require an abridged Bangla version of this book immediately.

So far we studied, we found no fault with this book except a very minor one. It could have been better if a list of the used acronyms and abbreviations were added to it with their interpretations. The style and language of the book is easy, lucid and quite intelligible. We hope the readers would find much pleasure reading it. The collage cover designed by Asif Iqbal and a small photo-cum-news album towards the end are also apt to the theme and context. Finally, we express our heartiest thanks and gratitude both to the author and the publisher for this wise publication, and consider it an act of their sincere social responsibility.

Narcotic Drugs Control and Crime Prevention
by Muzibur Rahman Howlader
Hakkani Publishers
Cover design: Asif Iqbal
Pages: 390, Price: Tk. 400