Bangladesh: Frontline officers trained on effective usage of field-testing kits to counter the threat of illicit drugs

Dhaka, Bangladesh/22 September 2022: The production and trafficking of methamphetamine in East and South-East Asia region continue to remain a major human security threat for Bangladesh. There is a  strong demand for methamphetamine pills in Bangladesh and each year, millions of these pills continue to get trafficked into the country from the neighboring East and South-East Asia region. The two-way trade of methamphetamine and its precursors between South Asia and East and South-East Asia region makes Bangladesh vulnerable for production as well.

To cope with the situation, officers in the field need to have adequate resources to be able to swiftly and systematically identify seized substances. Without these, their ability to detect and interdict the flows of drugs and precursors would be hampered.

Recognizing this need, the UNODC Global Synthetic Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) Programme donated 66 field drugs and precursors testing kits to the Bangladesh authorities. To supplement this, UNODC conducted a two-day training in Dhaka on the effective usage of field drug testing kits for 20 forensic officials and frontline officers from the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), Police and Customs.

Through the training, frontline officers combating the illicit drugs threat in Bangladesh were equipped to rapidly identify illicit drugs and their precursor chemicals.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Md. Azizul Islam, Additional Director General of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) said, “This training will help to build capacity to detect synthetic drugs and understand the relevant technicalities with the drug abuse pattern shifting from traditional drugs to synthetic drugs.”

Launched in September 2008 in response to the growing challenge of synthetic drug use, production and trafficking worldwide, the Global SMART Programme aims to enhance the capacity of Member States and authorities in priority regions, to generate, manage, analyse and report information relating to synthetic drugs. Strengthening national capacity to detect, identify and monitor synthetic drugs and NPS is one of the approaches SMART uses in implementation of its activities.

“We expect this training will enhance the knowledge and skills of Bangladesh frontline officers in identifying illicit drugs, and ultimately in making more successful interdictions in the field” said Mr. Joao Rodrigues, Scientific Officer from UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Services who delivered the training.

Participants found the hands-on practical training useful. “This training was much needed to enhance the potentiality of law enforcement officers like us in the field,” said Mr. Subrata Sarkar Shubho, Assistant Director of the DNC. “It is very practical for us to get trained with real substances. I hope UNODC will continue to deliver this kind of training for law enforcement officers in the future,” said Mr. Rameshwar Das, another Assistant Director on the DNC.

“These test kits are very useful to perform our duties and the training boost our confidence to conduct presumptive tests for suspicious substances at the ports,” said Mr. Md. Hossain Gazi, Assistance Revenue Officer from the Chittagong Customs House.

The UNODC test kits, developed and produced by the Laboratory and Scientific Service, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, are intended to provide law enforcement officers with rapid and simple colour tests for the preliminary field identification of drugs and precursors.,

In all cases where presumptive positive results are obtained with these tests, the suspected material should be submitted to an authorized laboratory for further confirmatory analyses. UNODC drug testing kits provide law enforcement personnel with the means to conduct on-site testing for illicit drugs, including narcotics such as opium and heroin as well as psychotropic substances like methamphetamine. UNODC also produces precursor testing kits that help identify precursor chemicals used to manufacture drugs, such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are used to make methamphetamine.

The South Asia Global SMART chapter on capacity-building includes Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India and activities are being implemented with support from the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

This activity contributes to SDGs 3 and 16:

(Supported by US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs)