Release of National Policy for prevention and control of drug abuse in Sri Lanka on June 26: Rise in cannabis and heroin usage in Lanka: NDDCB chief | Daily News


 

Release of National Policy for prevention and control of drug abuse in Sri Lanka on June 26: Rise in cannabis and heroin usage in Lanka: NDDCB chief

Cannabis and heroin usage in Sri Lanka has seen an increase. The number of heroin and cannabis users is between 50,000 and 200,000, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board of Sri Lanka (NDDCB) Chairman Prof. Ravindra Fernando said.

“We are unable to say the exact number of users as most cases are not revealed to society. We have planned to implement a national survey to find out the exact number of illicit drug users in the country. Each year around 1,000 to 2,000 people are addicted newly to illicit drugs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Law and Order and Southern Development Ministry Secretary Jagath P. Wijeweera said the National Policy for prevention and control of drug abuse in Sri Lanka will be released on June 26 at a ceremony to be held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena parallel to International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking aiming at creating Sri Lanka free of drug abuse.

Addressing a media briefing in Colombo yesterday, he said the government reaffirms its determination to tackle the drug problem locally and internationally by launching the National Policy which was initially formulated in 2005.

“We added several amendments suited for modern-day requirements to strengthen the law against production, smuggling, trafficking, sale and use of illicit drugs in the country. Government institutions, the private sector and other agencies will be actively involved in implementing the national policy to eliminate drug abuse and illicit trafficking in Sri Lanka,” Wijeweera said.

The national ceremony to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking will be held on June 26 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. Various programmes have been organised to combat illegal drug distribution and to create public awareness on the problem of illegal substances and their effects on society, especially among the youth and to promote preventive measures.

“Nearly one out of 20 of the world’s population are reported to be using an illicit drug. We can understand how illicit drugs have become a threat to the entire world. It needs to be tackled at least by now. Even though alcohol consumption has dropped in the recent past there has been no remarkable change in cigarette use in Sri Lanka. We need to take stern action in this regard,” he said.

Prof. Fernando said awards and certificates of appreciation will be presented to officials of Security Forces, Police, STF and the Custom Department involved in the detection of the largest cocaine haul recently.Commenting on former NDDCB Chairman Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe’s efforts to reveal the names of drug dealers, Prof. Fernando said none of the names were given to anyone in the Board when Dr. Samarasinghe resigned from the post.

There was no information in the computer system in this regard. Sri Lanka is becoming a popular transit point for heroin trafficking. It is revealed that the main trafficking routes are by sea from southern India (for Indian heroin) and from Pakistan (for Afghan heroin). Heroin is smuggled to Sri Lanka in sea containers and fishing boats and sent Europe and the Middle East, Prof. Fernando said.

He said a programme will be implemented to prevent the circulation of seized drugs destroyed on a Court order in the market again.

“We have obtained several information in this regard and investigations are underway now,” he said.

 


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