Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Asia

Primary Prevention in South Asia

The Five Year Master Plan for Drug Abuse Prevention and Control in Bangladesh, launched by the DNC in cooperation with UNDCP in 1993, emphasizes demand reduction among other activities (DNC 1991). Efforts remain, however, constrained by limited resources and expertise (Bangladesh 1993).

            State owned television and radio are reported to broadcast anti-drug messages through drama, interviews, discussions etc., to the whole population. The Department of Narcotics Control occasionally arranges activities such as walkathons, rallies and symposia mainly for young people in cooperation with relevant non-governmental and United Nations organizations. Anti-drug messages are also sent to the whole population on special occasions through posters, stickers, leaflets, stamps and bulletins. Newspapers are reported to frequently publish articles on drug related topics (U.N. 1990).

            In 1990, preventive education was reported not part of the national school curricula (U.N. 1990).

The existence of education or information programmes, or any other types of activity in prevention of drug abuse in Bhutan has not been reported (U.N. 1989).

Since awareness and education are considered key to prevention efforts, the Ministry of Welfare works closely with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and voluntary organizations. A cell has been created in the Ministry of Welfare to promote awareness and publicity material, such as films, posters, booklets and hand-outs (Singh, Dr. H. 1993).

The Committee for the Prevention of Drug Abuse, in collaboration with the local media provides information and education for the prevention of drug abuse to increase public awareness in this area (Maldives 1993).

Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have organized awareness raising and educational activities in schools and colleges, especially in urban areas. Drug education is reported in 1993 to have been introduced in the school curriculum (Nepal 1993a). Efforts are reported to have been made to raise public awareness on drug abuse matters through the mass media. However, it is reported that these preventive messages are not taken seriously because they are based on a "scare model" (Nepal 1993a). Governmental as well as non-governmental organizations have developed leaflets giving information on the harmful consequences of drug abuse (CMO 1991). In 1993, work places and health care services are reported not used significantly to convey drug abuse preventive messages (Nepal 1993a).

            A small scale school survey in 1988 showed that about 95 per cent reported having heard or seen anti-drug messages. The most reported source of anti drug messages was the radio (83 per cent), followed by television (75 per cent) and newspapers (64 per cent). Two thirds of the respondents reported that anti-drug messages had brought positive changes, and 6 per cent reported that it had adversely affected them. More than a quarter reported that the risks related to drug abuse were exaggerated (Nepal 1993).

            The operation of needle exchange programmes despite the rise in intravenous drug abuse were not reported for 1993 (Nepal 1993a).

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education carries out programmes like: (a) seminar for students/teachers/parents, to create an awareness of drug related problems, (b) poster and essay competitions for school children on the subject of drug where winners are awarded prizes and certificates, (c) radio and television programmes highlighting the consequences of drug abuse, (d) formation of voluntary temperance societies in schools, (e) a school programme where students voluntarily sign an oath of abstention from smoking, alcohol and dangerous drugs, (f) training of school counsellors in referral service through them for drug dependent students and (g) production of booklets, stickers etc. for distribution to schools (U.N. 1989).

            Officers of the Department of Prisons are invited to give talks on the dangers of drug abuse to students at schools, and at Sarvodaya training programme (U.N. 1989).