Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Perceptions of Drug Use within a UK Bengali Community

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Perceptions of Drug Use within a UK Bengali Community

Article excerpt

Byline: Mohammad. Uddin, Dinesh. Bhugra, Mark. Johnson

Aim: The study set out to explore the perceptions and knowledge of drug use of the Bangladeshi origin population in Leicester through local Mosques and community and resource centers for recruiting subjects.

Setting and Design: A triangulated methodology was used for this research. A review of all available literature was carried out to establish if there was evidence of a drug problem among the Bangladeshis in the UK along with questionnaires and interviews. Materials and Methods: A triangulated methodology was used for this research. A review of all available literature was carried out along with questionnaires as well as semi-structured interviews using self-designed questionnaires.

Results and Conclusions: Only 66 questionnaires (16.5%) were returned (46 males and 20 females). These and qualitative exploratory interviews with a small number of community leaders confirmed that drug-related problems exist among the Bangladeshi community, especially in the younger age group and are recognized as such but help seeking is often problematic. An understanding of the perceptions of the Bangladeshi population is useful in developing culturally appropriate services for this group.


The availability and use of illegal drugs and resulting addictions presents a serious problem in the UK. Illegal drugs are widely available and causing serious social and health problems.[sup] [1],[2],[3] The consequences of such drug use include serious and organized crime perpetrated by drug dealers and addicts as well as harm to individual users of substances.

Evidence suggests that drug use is on the increase among the South Asian population in the UK, especially the Bangladeshi communities.[sup] [4],[5] This problem is not publicly acknowledged by the Bangladeshi community because stigma affects the status of the family in society[sup] [6] and the notion of shame in the family is very strong.

Setting in Leicestershire: The geographical catchment area has a population 615,000 and nearly half of the population live in market towns, or urban areas close to Leicester.[sup] [7] The County has a long history of settlement from other parts of the world. In the early 1970s, there was significant migration to Leicestershire of people of Bangladeshi and Gujarati origin. More recently, there has been movement out of the city of Leicester into the more rural areas. The vast majority of Bangladeshis in the UK as well as in this region come from the rural Sylhet district in Bangladesh. They speak various dialects of the national language (Bangla) and the first generation of migrants at least had a low level of literacy. In respect of religion, the majority are Sunni Muslims.[sup] [7]

The qualifications of older Bangladeshi men and women in the UK have been found to be extremely low, and young Bangladeshi people also remain the least well qualified of all the UK minority ethnic groups. There is nevertheless a high penetration of this group in British economy and society through the operation of catering establishments and yet there is low residential ownership compared with British Indian and Pakistani groups indicating a different profile.

Literature review: Electronic and manual literature searches were employed to gather information on the current pattern of drug use among the Bangladeshis in UK. Databases were searched without any restrictions and inclusive of all the publication years to produce the largest number of hits. Gray literature items (a document such as a newspaper, a popular magazine article, or a local study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal) were also included in this review. In addition, various search engines were used on the Internet to locate literature.

The inclusion criteria for the literature were deliberately set widely initially to ensure that all relevant literature was included for the review. …

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