Lapses in the control of pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances have led to widespread abuse among all segments of the population in South Asian countries including Bangladesh, said a UN report.
"Drug trafficking and abuse problems in South Asia continue to be both serious and multifaceted," said the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for 2006.
"In South Asian countries, particularly Bangladesh, India and Nepal, lapses in the control of pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances have led to widespread abuse among all segments of the population," the report added.
The main reason, the report said, was the availability of pharmaceutical drugs without prescription.
The report also pointed to a shift in drug abuse patterns in India in recent years, from inhaling to injecting drugs.
"India remains the main illicit manufacturer of methaqualone (a sleep-inducing drug). This drug is not only abused in India but also smuggled to other countries, mainly South Africa, its main consumer," the report said.
The UN body also highlighted the increasing menace of drugs smuggled through international mail. Urging governments to strengthen national legislation and to screen all routes for incoming and outgoing international mail, the INCB said the screening process should include the premises of international mail courier companies.
It also recommended limiting the number of entry points for parcels to allow for more effective control of consignments.