Sri Lanka is not a manufacturer of illicit drugs, with the exception of cannabis. However it is a nub for international drug trafficking including opium and heroin. This is mainly a result of the country’s strategic location, especially
on important maritime and aviation shipping routes, for drugs originating mainly in India and Pakistan. Recently sri Lanka’s navy has seized $65 million worth of crystal methamphetamine and ketamine. It is the country’s biggest drugs bust. authorities raided a flagless vessel in the country’s southern waters and arrested nine Pakistani men suspected of smuggling the drugs.
Fighting against illicit drug trafficking is a challenge for Sri Lanka because
of its lack of resources, both financial and human. The government needs to allocate more money to the rehabilitation of drug users and reintegration programs for the victims of drugs.According to the NDDCB, around 20 percent of illicit drug users in Sri Lanka are between the age of 19 and 25, and 38 percent are between the age of 26 and 35. It is also a widely known that large-scale drug dealers evade the law with the support of politicians and other influences.
Awareness programmes on prevention of drugs organized in parallel with drug
prevention week by Sri Lanka Navy, in line with the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, organized a series of programmes to further strengthen drug prevention activities.
The week long events included awareness programmes on drug addiction and prevention as the major component drive was to enlighten naval personnel in naval bases belonging to Northern and North Central Naval Commands, pursuant to the national theme of drug prevention week “Drug Free Nation – Prosperous Country”.
The events had been held under the guidance of Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander Northern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Kapila Samaraweera and Commander North Central Naval Area, Rear Admiral Lalith Dissanayake. The efforts were well supported by
medical officers attached to both commands.These worthy drives covered some notable elements such as identification of drugs,their effects on human body, family and society, reasons for addiction and means of getting rid of drugs. Further, the awareness sessions were held in conformity with the
health guidelines and measures to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has emphasized that crimes operated by underworld kingpins and drug mafia from prisons must be put to an end without delay.
With the final forewarn received from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to make prisons free of corruption, the newly appointed Commissioner General of Prisons, Thushara Upuldeniya said he and his team of officials would take strict measures to curb deep-rooted corruption to overhaul the 200-years-old prison system to give it a new look.
“Nothing could prevent us who are doing the right thing to prevent corruption in the system that has threatened the country’s national security,” he said
In an interview (with defence.lk) he stated that when we compare statistics from other countries, there is not much difference with Sri Lanka’s re-conviction rate, which is 39 %. Out of it, 80% are drug addicts, which make Sri lankan re-conviction rate high. And the officials are proposing to separate drug addicts from other prison inmates and to have separate rehabilitation centres for them. On the other hand, their officials are well trained to handle criminals but not drug addicts as it is a special area that needs counseling.The drug addicts are sent for three-month imprisonment and released back to the same society. Then within two weeks, they re-enter for the same drug-related offenses. This is the reason Sri Lanka records a high-reconviction rate.He also said that currently, two rehabilitation centres – Ambepussa and Kandakadu- for drug addicts are functioning under the Prison Department and they are planning to have another centre at Weerawila to increase facilities to rehabilitate drug addicts and also to ease congestion in prison.
On June 28th The police have arrested five residents near the Welikada and
Magazine prisons in Colombo for allegedly providing drugs, mobile phones and other equipment to the inmates.The police media unit stated that the suspects were arrested during operations conducted by the Borella police.Special team of Borella police has conducted a raid on residences near the Magazine Prison and recovered several parcels prepared to be thrown over the prison wall.Investigations have revealed that the suspects had tried to deliver banned items including mobile phones, phone chargers, batteries and drugs including heroin and ICE as well as tobacco to the inmates.
Drug abuse has a pervasive effect on an entire community. Understanding drug use risk fac and spreading the word through prevention programs is the best defense against drug abuse. The government’s strategies on prevention of corruptions in prisons and eradication tactics of drugs in Sri Lanka is greatly appreciated.