President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to 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 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.
According to the survey nearly 100,000 consume heroine daily and out of that approximately 1,500 persons are women and the number of male persons are 85,000. Furthermore, 300,000 people addicted to cannabis and out of this 1,500 are women.
A total of 40,846 suspects have been arrested in connection to the illegal drugs trafficking during past six months under the special operation carried out by the directions of the National Drug Prevention Program. More than 3500 kilograms of illegal drugs have been found.
During the operation, 20, 309 suspects have been arrested with 1029 Kg 997 grams 170 mg heroin. Also, a total of 20,015 persons have been arrested with 2378 Kg 950 grams 381 mg of cannabis.
These operations will be further expanded and special programmes are underway to curtail the daily requests for drugs. Also, there is a special program has been launched to rehabilitate people who are addicted to drugs. A special interim unit has been set up for this purpose under the instructions of the President.
Special operations are underway to identify and impound avenues used to bring drugs into the country. President has instructed 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 Department of Excise to tighten the regulations against the excise license owners who breach relevant laws.
Surveys conducted on this subject reveal 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 too. 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, work places and voluntary organizations.