President instructs to initiate rehabilitation programmes for young drug addicts


President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the National Rehabilitation Authority for Drug addicts to implement a special programme at the provincial level to rehabilitate the drug addicts in the country, as around 150,000 children under the age of 18 years are reported to be the victims of this menace.

The report of the survey jointly conducted by the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board and the Police was recently handed over to the President and the data further revealed that around 6,100 children who are under the age of 18 years have been addicted to heroin, the President’s Media Division (PMD) stated.

According to the survey, nearly 100,000 persons consume heroin daily and out of this to approximately 1,500 persons are women while the number of male persons adds up to 85,000.  Furthermore, 300,000 people are addicted to cannabis and out of this 1,500 are women, the PMD further said.

A total of 40,846 suspects have been arrested in connection to the illegal drugs trafficking during the past six months under the special operation carried out by the directions of the National Drug Prevention Program. More than 3500kg of illegal drugs have been found, the PMD reported.

During the operation, 20, 309 suspects have been arrested with 1029kg 997g 170mg heroin. A total of 20,015 persons have been arrested with 2378kg 950g 381 mg of cannabis, according to the PMD.

These operations will be further expanded and special programmes are underway to curtail the daily requests for drugs. There is also a special program launched to rehabilitate drug addicts.  A special interim unit has been set up for this purpose under the instructions of the President, the PMD said.

Special operations are underway to identify and impound avenues used to bring drugs into the country, the PMD’s released said. President has instructed the relevant officials to amend existing excise laws to strengthen the ongoing illegal drug controlling activities and the present the same to the Cabinet by next week.

President had also advised the Department of Excise to tighten the regulations against the excise license owners who breach relevant laws.

Surveys conducted on this subject have revealed that people in Western Province are the most addicted to drugs and this percentage is considerably high in South, North West, Central and Northern provinces as well, the PMD added. Measures are underway under the instructions of President to conduct special rehabilitation programmes in these areas and to organize awareness programmes on the adverse impact of using drugs in close collaboration with schools, Dhamma schools, workplaces and voluntary organizations, the PMD said.