Tough issues in hard drug-pushing
It is with
heightening consternation and anxiety that the majority of the
public views a seemingly continual inflow of hard drugs to Sri
Lanka. The very latest instance in such trafficking centred on
the surreptitious ploy to smuggle hashish into this country in
parcels containing journals. More dramatic and sensational were
the attempts by some visitors to this country to smuggle in hard
drugs by swallowing them; that is, by veritably carrying the
drugs in their tummies.
Hard drug abuse has been stubbornly persisting in this
country over the years and it is also quite some time since Sri
Lanka came to be recognized as an important transit point for
drug smuggling in the Asian region. Drug pushing was also an
important source of the LTTE's ill-gotten gains and this process
helped to propel to the consciousness of the world the dreaded
phenomenon of Narco-Terrorism. The Sri Lankan authorities as
well as the public are quite aware that the issue of
drug-pushing and abuse has been growing to some proportions in
this country over the decades and there is no denying that the
systems are in place to fight the menace to the extent possible.
Yet, the drug abuse and trafficking issue could in no way be
said to be on the retreat.
It is, admittedly, a problem which cannot be contained in a
hurry on account of the myriad devious and not easily detectable
ways in which drugs could be smuggled into the country and
transported within it. The recent detection of hashish in
manually-tampered journals was a very smart one on the part of
the Postal authorities but, generally, the guile and ingenuity
of the smuggler are of such a heinous kind that their
wrong-doing could very well be going undetected. Accordingly,
our hope is that the authorities would remain vigilant to the
trickery of the drug pusher but it is an uphill task in that
they would have to be on a high state of alert continuously.
The issue of hard drug abuse in this country is compounded by
the fact that in very many instances some powerful persons and
groups are embroiled in the process of pushing and distributing
the deadly merchandize. There is the Kahawatte double murder
case which threw up the involvement of some local-level
politicians in drug-pushing. This factor of the influential
being involved in the drug trade makes eradicating the blight of
drug abuse difficult.
This has to do with the criminalization of politics and it is
to the extent to which the state could decriminalize politics
and prevent politicians from involving themselves in crime and
anti-social activities that could render the problem of drug
abuse more amenable to resolution. Therefore, hopefully, the
state would crack the whip on these fiendish politicians and
bring them to heel. Ideally, these errant politicians should be
shown the door by all political parties and organizations that
involve themselves in the matters of the public.
However, some disconcerting facts stare us in the face on the
issue of drug abuse in this country. If drugs are available
locally, it is because there is a demand for them in Sri Lanka.
Since the number of detections of drug smuggling is tending to
be sizeable the conclusion is inescapable that those abusing
these drugs are also considerable in number. These issues call
for in-depth research and investigations and one cannot hazard
unstudied answers on the matters at issue but it is our hope
that the number of drug addicts in this country are not on the
Drug addiction, however, is a matter of national importance.
If the lure of drugs could be successfully fought by the
totality of the public, including parents, elders, religious
organizations, schools and civil society organizations, besides,
of course, the state, a huge dent could be made in the problem.
Essentially, what needs to be done is to strengthen the
character and resourcefulness of particularly the young against
the evil attraction which is hard drugs.
No doubt, these projects are of a long term nature. But if
successfully conducted their positive outcomes could prove to be
of a durable nature. Therefore, we need to get back to our
basics. We need to build persons with sound character inasmuch
as we have to establish and foster good homes. These are the
essential building blocks of the nation.