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Bangladesh: Catholic-run de-addiction center to collaborate with private university to treat drug addicts

A Catholic-run de-addiction center, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation and Assistance Center for Addicts (BARACA), seeks to collaborate with a private university in Dhaka to treat drug addicts. 

On March 24, BARACA held a meeting at its research center with the Psychology Department of BRAC University.

“We search for possibilities of working together in the field of drug treatment in Bangladesh,” Holy Cross Brother Nirmal Francis Gomes, director of BARACA, told RVA News.

According to him, the drug problem in the country is “huge.” There are about 10 million drug addicts in South Asian countries.

When asked why BARACA would collaborate with the university, Brother Gomes, said, “We want their support for counselling and training for the people of all the rehab centres in our network.”

“The collaboration will help develop a quality treatment for drug addicts,” he added. “We plan to sign the formal memorandum of understanding by June 2024.”

Brother Gomes said that BARACA has requested the university open a subject such as addiction psychology. 

At present, BARACA has one treatment center and four drop-in centres.  

Explain how important their service is for BARACA’s center, Brother Gomes said, “It is very important for the country as we do not have any research centers on drugs or training institutes in Bangladesh.

“I would like to train all the centers for a quality treatment system in the country,” he added.

Brother Gomes had visited three different universities in the country for possible networking and collaboration. 

“Maybe we will work on it with BRAC University,” he said. 

Holy Cross Brother Ronald Drahozal established BARACA in 1988, and it is the first drug treatment and rehabilitation center in the country.

BARACA is now a key initiative for Caritas Bangladesh, the social development wing of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh.

In addition to offering drug treatment and rehabilitation services, the BARACA educates the public about drugs, harm and risk reduction, voluntary counseling and testing, and childcare and overnight shelters for at-risk street children.

At its four centers, BARACA has treated over 5,000 patients and provided shelter to over 1,500 street children throughout the years.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.