President Maithripala Sirisena announced that the government would set up an authority for the rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The President has drawn his attention towards eradication of illicit drugs through strengthening laws regarding drug controls and drug raids.
He emphasized the need to rehabilitate drug addicts at the same time and obtained the approval for a Cabinet Paper presented by him to the cabinet of ministers for this purpose, the PMD said.
Until the Authority is established, an interim body has been appointed on Wednesday (Feb 20) for rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The members of the interim authority are Ven Kuppiyawatte Bodhananda Thero, retired DIG Sirisena Herath, Dr Samantha Kithalawaarchchi, Head of the Presidential Task Force on Drugs Eradication, Specialist Dr Jayamal de Silva, Dr Danush Mahesh, Senior Lecturer Dr Ramani Perera, former Prisons Commissioner Gamini Jayasinghe and former Secretary to State Ministry Shanthi Naukarasan.
The President met the members of the Interim Authority at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday and emphasized the imperative need to fulfill the mandate given to them.
He advised them to utilize the modern methods of drug rehabilitation adopted by advanced foreign countries.
He also asked them to commence their rehabilitation work in the Northern Province.
The Authority is expected to work in coordination with the President’s Office, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Police.
President Sirisena asked the members to submit their recommendations by next week.
This is the first time such an Authority on Drug Addict Rehabilitation has been established in Sri Lanka.
The President said strict laws will be implemented against illicit drugs related activities in future and the government is very keen to rehabilitate the drug addicts.
Secretary to the President, Udaya R Seneviratne and officials were present on this occasion.