12 November, 2018

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The War On Drugs In Sri Lanka: Science Or Fiction?

By Nimesh Samarasinghe

Dr. Nimesh Samarasinghe

“Some may think that the death penalty is too harsh a penalty. I do not think so. Many countries have come to the stage where they accept the death penalty” ~ Ranil Wickremesinghe, 1984.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickermesinghe stated the above during the parliamentary debate on the Poisons Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance of 1929 Amendment Bill on 22 March 1984. At the time, he was the Minister of Education who endorsed President J.R Jayewardene’s proposal to introduce the death sentence for drug related offences. Despite its inefficacy, the death sentence for drug related offences is back on the policy agenda and political limelight. The evidence of the steady rise in drug seizures, arrests, drug-related prison admissions, drug use, drug related harm and relatively stable drug prices suggests that the nation’s policy on drugs that existed for over three decades needs re-thinking.  

There had been a number of articles written on the subject matter although none looked at the origins of the death sentence for drug related offences in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, there is little information on the socio-economic and political factors associated in adopting and implementing this policy choice. This article will focus on the above information gap, identifying and discussing some of the drivers for the ‘war on drugs’. I will apply a policy science approach to understand drug policy development that is situated in the history of Sri Lanka.

The heroin epidemic in the 1980s

By the late 1970s’ there existed a growing cohort of ageing opium and cannabis users. The novelty of a heroin epidemic, introduced by tourists in the late 1970s was largely confined to Colombo and some parts of southern Sri Lanka. Young people started using heroin, which concerned politicians, the clergy and general public due to the uncertainties created on how to manage a ‘novel drug problem’. There also existed a belief among policy-makers and politicians that a drug-free society is absolutely required for the socio-economic development of the country, particularly as young people were considered as the wealth of the nation. 

Politicians, prominent Buddhist monks and Christian priests were questioning the meaning of moral values and good citizenship in society. The use of intoxicants was seen as immoral, and those who use drugs were seen as social outcasts. Consequently there was a moral underpinning to the policy-making and political concerns at the time. Their moral ideology regarded drugs as dangerous, threatening to cultural values and as evil substances that compromise the values in Sri Lankan culture. State intervention and tough law enforcement were seen as legitimate responses to foster moral and upright behaviour.

By 1982, Interpol confirmed Sri Lanka’s status as a transit country for the movement of heroin from countries in the Golden Triangle into Europe, with organised international drug trafficking syndicates operating within Sri Lanka. During this period, evidence also emerged of a link between heroin trafficking carried out by the LTTE and financial proceeds being used to fund terrorism. With the escalation of violence between Sinhalese and Tamils, and the demand for a separate Tamil state in the North and East of Sri Lanka, drug trafficking was perceived as a major problem and a direct threat to national security and stability of government. Politicians and law enforcement personnel viewed the existing legislation at the time as being outdated to manage the emerging new trends of drug use and trafficking. The Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance of 1929 was amended within this national context. The amendments ensured the introduction of the death sentence for drug related offences, stringent law enforcement on drug users and traffickers, and the creation of the National Dangerous Drug Control Board to coordinate all efforts related to drug control. 

Policies adopted since 1984 ensured that the response to the drug problem was firmly located within the criminal justice system leading to a large number of drug users being imprisoned.  Out of the total prison population in the country, nearly 45% of men and women were admitted for narcotic-related offences in 2000, the largest single category according to the Handbook of Drug Abuse Information published by the National Dangerous drug Control Board in 2002. The majority of drug-related prison admissions were for heroin related offences (88%) with the remaining (12%) for cannabis. These figures remain stable 17 years later and indicate that a large proportion of people who are in the prison system are drug users as opposed to large scale traffickers. 

The international environment had a significant influence in regards to the introduction of the death sentence and in shaping drug policy in Sri Lanka. I will now discuss this in some detail. 

International context and national political landscape

During the 1980s, within the Asia Pacific region, countries such as Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia introduced the death penalty for drug related offences. The rapid spread of this populist policy option across the Asia Pacific region may be the result of a process whereby government elites copied the social commitments made by other governments, considering them to be advanced, progressive and morally praiseworthy. It is learned that Sri Lanka copied the death sentence from Singapore and Malaysia at the time without any scientific knowledge about its efficacy as a policy option. These were both similar economically, capitalist countries with legislation to use the death sentence for people convicted of drug related offences. Sri Lankan elite decision-makers at the time were inspired by these countries’ economic growth, indicating a desire to follow their path to development.

Although there was limited consensus on the introduction of the death penalty between police officers and politicians, President J.R Jayawardena who held executive power was able to obtain unilateral agreement from not only Cabinet colleagues to back the Amendment Bill, but also the support for the death sentence from Members of Parliament. However, its application has been symbolic as there have been no executions of drug users or traffickers. When a death sentence is issued, the presiding judge states that the person should be imprisoned and executed at a time nominated by the President. Over the last three decades, none of the Presidents in office have implemented the order, which in effect suspends the death sentence effectively to one of life imprisonment. So, why is it not implemented or abolished? 

Seen to be tough on crime?

Initially, policy-makers have been of the opinion that the death sentence would be a deterrent against drug use and trafficking. The introduction of the death sentence signalled a tough law enforcement and zero tolerance approach. However, research conducted worldwide on its efficacy states that it is a ‘costly failure’. A failure simply because it has not been able to reduce crime, drug use, drug related arrests and prison admissions. Some also argue that the death penalty violates international conventions on human rights as it denies the most basic and fundamental human right, the right to life. However, its existence has been of interest to Presidents, politicians and some senior civil servants who advised Presidents in Sri Lanka. 

All Presidents in Sri Lanka have been keen supporters of the death sentence and the prevailing policy on drug control that existed for over three decades. However, some Presidents may have appeared tough on crime, particularly in regards to stringent law enforcement against drug users and traffickers for time to time. The fact that the President, the most powerful politician in the country, had a keen interest in, and control over drug policy, is indicative of its importance to the core of economic, political and social decision-making.

There had been unanimous support in Parliament for President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to pass a resolution in 1995 to implement capital punishment. In 1999, President Kumaratunga did implement it by issuing a Presidential Proclamation, so it would become a deterrent to organised and serious criminals in the country. However, in the face of strong opposition from national and international human rights groups, the death sentences have been automatically commuted to life imprisonment. In January 2001, the government revoked this decision to automatically commute the capital punishment sentence to one of life imprisonment. 

Implementing the death penalty was raised again following the assassination of a prominent High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya and his bodyguard on 19th November 2004. The deaths were suspected of being an order from a major drug trafficker. Justice Ambepitiya had given a life sentence to a woman who had trafficked drugs on the day of his assassination. A judge being assassinated for the first time in Sri Lanka and the link to a drug trafficker was a major political concern due to the implications for state security and the independence of the judiciary. Afterwards President Kumaratunga seized the opportunity to again try to implement the death penalty for the crimes of murder, rape and drug trafficking. Capital punishment for convicted drug traffickers had been a politically charged issue and appears to have been associated with politicians’ perceptions of the will of the electorate.

From time to time, Buddhist monks, Christian priests and the public have lobbied for the implementation of the death sentence. Public attitudes towards the drug problem had been utilised by elected officials to legitimise government action on prohibition and tough law enforcement. While the legitimisation of prohibition was inextricably linked to the need to maintain a more moral and secure society, prohibition also served the agenda of politically active groups and the electorate. ‘Seen to be tough on crime’ during periods of increased crime reports in the media appears common and popular among Presidents. It can be considered as populist policy, merely political rhetoric to attract votes and support.

Some ministers in the present government do not personally believe that implementation of the death sentence is the ‘magic bullet’ for problems concerning drugs in contemporary Sri Lanka. Recently, Dr. Rajitha Senaratna, Mangala Samaraweera and some other Ministers publicly stated that they do not personally support the idea of capital punishment. Some sections of the Buddhist community and Christian priests also share these views as they believe in ‘abstaining from taking life’. Although these dissenting views exist, collectively, President Maithreepala Sirisena and his cabinet supports this populist policy, which seems to be their response to rising crime reports in Sri Lanka.

Future directions

Existing legislation on drugs muddles ‘drug users’ and ‘traffickers’. It makes provision to either sentence a person to death or to life imprisonment, for a person who is in possession of three grams of morphine, or two grams of cocaine or two grams of heroin (for personal use). There is little demarcation between drug users, street-level dealers and large scale traffickers when sentencing for drug related offences. Although this was raised by some law enforcement professionals for over a decade, it has received little attention and political support.

Majority of those who are addicted to drugs are unfortunate individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Similarly, majority of drug users admitted to prison are from lower socio-economic backgrounds who may require treatment and rehabilitation. International evidence and the UNODC suggest that voluntary community-based treatment programmes produces better outcomes when compared to coerced or compulsory treatment in prison. At present programmes are implemented in some prisons to rehabilitate drug users. A comprehensive evaluation on the outcomes of the Drug Dependent Persons’ Treatment and Rehabilitation Act No 54 of 2007 is also overdue. 

The National Dangerous Drug Control Board has conducted a significant amount of work in regards to the drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation agenda. Building on these achievements, the drug problem needs to be seen and framed as a public health issue. At present, the country’s drug problem has been framed as a matter for the criminal justice system. International evidence clearly demonstrates that drug use disorders are best managed within a public health system. 

One of the primary reasons for maintaining a penal approach to managing drug problems is due to its increasing use as a political tool. While there exists consensus on a tough law enforcement approach to manage drug problems, a debate needs to begin to ensure a public health agenda is incorporated into policy-making. Stakeholders with divergent views, including the knowledge experts whose views on the drug problem had not been heard should be included in this debate so that consensual knowledge on the drug problem expands. 

Attention should be paid to successive shifts in drug policies of other countries, from which Sri Lanka has previously learned and from which the death sentence was copied. For example, Malaysia has moved from solely having harsh punitive measures to include a public health approach. The cessation of compulsory treatment and the establishment of voluntary drug treatment facilities indicate that Malaysia’s response is beginning to include a health-oriented approach as part of its overall drug policies. There are other policy lessons that can be learned from countries such as Switzerland, Portugal, U.K, Australia and Netherlands. 

Finally, there is no scientific evidence to support the war on drugs. The war on drugs is primarily founded in moralised policy making arenas where political interests have overshadowed the real needs of drug users and their loved ones. 

Dr. Nimesh Samarasinghe (PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), DipHE) has extensive experience working in the British National Health Service in clinical, managerial and commissioning roles. He is a subject matter expert on international drug control policies. He is also an associate member of the Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at Middlesex University, London. 

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Latest comments

  • 8
    1

    Dr. Nimesh Samarasinghe,
    .
    Yours is a wonderful article, balanced and sane. And you are obviously a man who is worthy of the noble profession that you must have joined ages ago.
    .
    Let me hope that this carefully written article receives the attention it deserves, and leads to intelligent and rational discussion of a subject that few of us have much understanding of. We are all humans, and even in the enforcement of laws that has to be kept in mind. It is the duty of the State to adopt some means to prevent this problem of drugs escalating in to a catastrophe for succeeding generations.
    .
    Religious leaders do have a role to play in “politics” – but not in the “making and breaking of governments” sort. Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha’s intervention was for the correct reasons. Most of the laymen whom he had to rely on, have let us down; Mangala Samaraweera has been an exception: not only for his statement on the Death Penalty, but also for not adopting “populist” policies in matters relating to the cost of living (viz. “petroleum prices”).
    .
    We are all human; none can suggest the perfect solution – or write the perfect article. Dr. Samarasinghe has obviously studied this subject in depth for a long period, and has written well. However, in relation to the co-operation that J.R. J. unanimously obtained he has spoken of “unilateral agreement”; the mistake has not been repeated when talking about CBK’s “success” in 1995. I highlighted the typo just to indicate that I have read carefully myself.
    .
    Dr. Samarasinghe, you have written scientifically and ethically, with no trace of racism, or dogmatism. Thank you.

    • 3
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      Sinhala_Man ~ “Dr. Samarasinghe, you have written scientifically and ethically, with no trace of racism, or dogmatism. Thank you”
      ‘Racism and dogmatism’ have no place in science or ethics! In fact in religions and governance as well.

      • 4
        1

        Dear K.Pillai,
        .
        I know that I have only stated what should be the obvious to any average reader; unfortunately, it looks as though that is a rare category. So many read only what seems sensational. The other articles on this subject have indeed been dogmatic, and few in our country can, unfortunately, discuss ANY subject without arguing with a racial bias.
        .
        As “Radical Ideas” has confirmed, this is a well thought-out article, and it is “multi-dimensional”. I think it took many hours for my comment to appear, and then for a full day it was the only article that was on display. CT has been a bit tardy with displaying comments – there must be explanations for that! I was very worried. This deserves to be read by many more, perhaps translated in to Sinhala and Tamil as well. But then, somebody has actually to do it.
        .
        My comment was trying to show that this deserves study, and I’m now glad that a few others have appeared. The paucity of comments is undoubtedly because so many other (less balanced) articles have appeared.
        .
        My random talking with people around me makes me realise that the spreading of drug addiction is indeed going on apace, and this article which is balanced and full of FACTS is most welcome.
        .
        Now, unless some of give the writer some feed-back, people of this erudition, sensitivity and balance will hardly think ti worth their while to write. I’m hoping that seeing this advertised as having received 12 comments (without this one that I’m typing) will lead to other comments with more to say.
        .
        After all what have I done except submit two commendations?

    • 1
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      I agree with Sinhala-man. its carefully written. The article promotes the view of the matter to have a multi dimensional approach weighing in pros and cons of the said death sentence policy. The drug or the narcotics problem is the direct result of the Imperialism that the West with its Judeo Christian thieving industry imposed on the humanity. Before the colonization of the Moghal India by the British (and then the entire Asia region) the “Sassoons” were the Drug Barons whom introduced the global narcotics business in the subcontinent region of which later became the invasion and colonization of India after destroying and ending the 700 years Mughal Empire. Sassoons were Jewish trader family who came from Baghdad. They established the East India Company which later became the invader of the Mughal Empire. —-contd—-part2

      • 4
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        Dear Radical Ideas,
        .
        I fear that you are going too far in to the past. “Colonialism”, “Imperialism”, call it what you may, was inevitable in the history of the World. What would have happened had Europeans not become adventurers about 1,500 years ago? Colonialism may have been delayed by even a thousand years, but Indians and/or Chinese and Japanese would have undertaken exploration and begun exploring technology at some point in history. And we, Asians, would have been as guilty.
        .
        Personally, I feel that you are going too far with your antisemitism. It’s the same old story of the “Blind Men of Hindustan” feeling the elephant.
        .
        I think that Dr Samarasinghe has chosen just the right period to start his detailed examination. Let’s not argue over such a barren subject. I feel that his article tells us just enough; anything longer wouldn’t have been read.
        .
        I’m sure that our comments are much less valuable, because I know that many who visit this website read only the main article – who has the time to read the rest? Only unemployed old people like me – who have just enough money to purchase the equipment necessary to access the Internet.
        .
        Those who have the time and the ability ought to translate articles of this nature and publish them in the Lankadeepa, Dinamina and the Virakesari. THAT would be a real contribution; NOT comments on this forum.
        .
        It’s very unlikely that there are drug addicts among the readers on this site; we can only hope for some trickle down by talking casually to acquaintances who habitually use Sinhala or Tamil.

        • 3
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          In case the typo was not obvious to all:

          ” 1,500 years ago” is wrong; I meant 1,500 A.D.
          .
          When I assert that we Asians would have proved as guilty, I was thinking particularly of the brutality displayed by us (the majority linguistic and religious group) against minorities. The various arguments trotted out in defence of our position, only make matters worse.

          • 3
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            I am an admirer of Sinhala_Man, the non Sinhalas can still count on the Sinhala people that they still have real humanistic kind ones to see things in its truest perspective with an open mind. Sinhala Man is such a rational person, the type of people we need in great numbers to see a change in the politics of our country which is going to the gutter.

        • 0
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          Part2…………Dear Sinhala Man, Please do not be distracted on the question of the “International Jewish Conspiracy” by the Jewish owned media propaganda that paints ayone who exposes the danger with a tag they coined as Anti Semitism. It is a different subject to argue on the validity of the Semitic origin of the present day Jews who are controlling the power centers of the govts’ by proxy. The present day Sri Lanka is heading towards a danger which is going to be a massive disaster to the Sinhala population as the project to pit the Sinhalas against someone to keep them eternally busy fighting a shadow boxing match, as always. This time its Muslims. It is a well known reality that the US/Israel/NATO is planning to aim their Jewish Wars on Iran and Pakistan. The Pacific command of the US is now named as the “Indo Pacific Command” by the Pentagon and they have sent emissaries to the South Asian Buddhist Hindu Block govts’ to cozy up the relationship. In Sri Lanka too there was a courtesy call happened by the US military with the Chief of the Pacific command meeting the PM -Ranil.

          which is currently going on strong all around the world by using the enslavement

          • 1
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            Radical Ideas
            With regard to the current tirade against Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn taking importance in UK’s media your comment has much relevance.

            • 0
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              Yes Uthungan, the Establishment of the Zionist Enterprise is telling the world in a mixed language that they’re planning to implement the World War Three in rather at a speedy and expedient levels. As the Freemasons 200 years plans, WW1 & WW2 ended with the destruction to the unity of the Muslims by ending the Khalifate. It was carefully conducted through installing the Donme’s (secret jews who lived as Muslims) creeping into the Ottoman Empire and started holding high positions through deceptive ways. Then they began corrupting the system from within and weakened its power from all sides before taking it down completely with a Donme Jew becoming the father of the dismembered Khalifate part called the Republic of Turkey. The Donme Jew who was acting like Muslim became its new leader. Kamal Ataturk is that Jew who virtually removed everything about Islamic from the Turks, created a secular model that oppossd Islam and established the relationship with the Zionist Rothschilds who masterminded it. Also, this project paved the way for the robbery of the Palestinian lands later that became Israel and the World’s conflicts are made on its evil survival and its expected domination of the world under the NWO program.

        • 0
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          Part 3……. The War efforts of US/Israel/NATO is going strong and you can see how the Jewish dummy/proxy Donald Trump being used to air the WAR Drumbeat for their next adventure with Iran. The choices of Narendra MODI/ Brahmanic Jew, Aung Sang Suki/ Secret Jew and was married to a Jew, and the Govigama Mafia Elites / Sinhala Jews have all demonstrated their preparedness through MASSIVE ISLAMOPHOBIA campaign, out if which Sri Lankan Govt demonstrated the biggest “Operation of Allegiance” by conducting the Pogrom against the Muslims in Kandy. Previously the Govi Mafia kept the trend in attacking Aluthgama, Muslim Businesses, Mosques, their Culture, education, livelyhood, religion etc,etc…. its an all out War of the Govigama Mafia against Islam.

      • 0
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        The Sassoons were in alliance with the British Royals (German Jewish origin) fought against the Chinese rulers in the proliferation of the Global Narcotic Trade. I dont know if you knew about the OPIUM WAR that the Jews fought against the China mainland rulers. Ultimately China’s Qing Dynasty failed to win against the formidable force of the Jewish traders who hired the British Empire Army to fight for them, ofcourse with a fair share of the Opium profit reserved to the Queen Victoria. Even now, the connection and the involvement of the Royals and the Ruling Elites to the Drug/Narco business is an open secret. Thats why this problem will be never solved. How come the containers of Heroin caught in SL during Rajapakse went underground without a trace?????

    • 1
      0

      The war on drugs is Fake News.
      This is to distract us from the fact that Today Lanka needs a massive War on Corruption – Both the supply and demand side of Corruption
      We want a People’s war on
      1. Money politics and Corrupt Politicians
      2. Fake Foreign aid for Debt trap Development projects.

      • 4
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        Yes, Don Stanley,
        .
        This controversy was dragged up as an easy “solution”.
        .
        It is no solution at all unless there is proper civil administration in the country, so that even if the undesirable penalty is re-instituted, the most guilty criminals will continue to live in luxury – and be considered respected people – while some unfortunate poor people hang from the gallows.
        .
        I agree with both courses of action that you suggest. The problem is that we’ve been saying that sort of thing for fifty years, without knowing what to do beyond asserting.
        .
        Another aspect of this strikes me: I shall post it separately, below.

  • 1
    0

    “Finally; there is no scientific evidence to support the war on drugs”…what a lie is this .
    Drug is killing millions in many countries ..many countires are struggling to stop drug dealers…sri Lanka too .
    Becoming transit centre for drug ..
    Politicians too have a role in this?
    Yet; you need more evidence ?
    It is self evidence .
    No need any evidence except to see young boys are addicted to it in Sri Lanka viallges …
    Go to villages now .
    Go to schools in Sri Lanka to see evidence of drug addiction.

    • 2
      0

      Dear Lankan,
      .
      I agree that there are signs that drugs are already a major problem; but it is difficult to get hard facts – because it has to do with what humans are doing. In addition, there is great secrecy.
      .
      I find it difficult to add to the excellent reasoning for and against in the main article.
      .
      Yes, we can go where the young are – and assess for ourselves. after that – given the way you express yourselves, will those kids listen to you at all? They need love, they need listening to. Let’s say many of us can do it within our own families (I’m not so sure about my own success in that respect – although I’m sure that theere are no drug addicts within my family circle – as yet!).
      .
      Given our inability to nail a single upper (or shall we say influential) class criminal for 43 months of Yahapalanaya, do you think that we will be able to nab the big traffickers?

  • 4
    1

    Such a fantastic article full of facts, reason and equanimity. Congratulations to this wonderful writer for enlightening us on this crucial matter. This should be framed and hanged in parliament of Sri Lanka. Best wishes to you. Dr. Santhushya Fernando

  • 0
    0

    WOW, War on drugs is a business to some individuals who learned in the west and why there should be a SCIENTIFIC study on this. What is the theory to bsed this. I heard some people applied to the universities as probabtionary lecturers ar enot happy, proably they are NGOs too. There is another article in CT about this. DEath PEnulty is a deterrrent and USA has a policy, AFTER THREE STRIEKS JAIL BIRDS ARE IN THE JAIL FOR EVER. .If they are caught in the harsh crimes, they are terminated eithe r by electric chair or by lethal injection. those who go to the hang man are those who desteoy the society why do we need more studies. have people discussed something called deterrent in law books or among lawyers. I am wondering whether there is foreign influence on thsi and they are saying don’t kill them and they are our people. MY QUESTION IS PRESIDENT SIRISENA IS GENUINE IN THIS OR HE IS SCORING POINTS FOR THE ELECTION AND WHETHER HE IS ACTUALLY TRYING TO CRRECT THE SOCIETY.

  • 2
    1

    Nimesh Samarasinghe ~ “The War On Drugs In Sri Lanka: Science Or Fiction?”

    Of course fiction. Bad fiction at that and that too plagiarised from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte!
    And MS wants to give Police powers to the Armed Services. Was it giving into the demand of the Armed services to share the loot with the Police? Watch this space.

  • 0
    0

    DRur business in Sri lanka is believed to be involved even by foreign spy agencies which fund the local work in Sri lanka. there is a guess on what agencies are involved. Those Days, Mahinda Rajapske said Army would involve and finish it. but, nowadays we know his Prime minister had signed for contaiers beinging drugs and Mahinda Rajapakse himself know supported supported some Drug importing ministers and he himself signed for such arricals of consignments. This govt was also silent and di dnot do anything until the end and now the elections are nearby Maithriapa Sirisena may be just talkig about it but actually nothing would happen. Otherwise, involving science etc., are just Stupid ideas. As you say so man y countries used death penulty against and they won it. why Sri lanka should not implement death penulty or a capital punishment to deter drug king pins. Just say why Arab countries do not have a drug problem. why Pakisthan does not have a drug problem onlypakisthanis are in Sri Lankan jail.

  • 4
    0

    “the drug problem needs to be seen and framed as a public health issue”

    Addicts and traffickers are on 2 different sides. Framing drug problem as a part of criminal justice system should also be there as preventive measure, while taking it as a public health issue can be a cure for those addicted.

    Smoking, for example is a public health issue and we now how much the govt spends on related diseases annually.

  • 1
    0

    25% of the Inhabitant population in Lankawe live on less than 400 Yahapalana Rupphia a day.
    And they are malnourished according to the latest Report from the UN.
    That is a whopping 5 Million souls , Men , Women and mostly Children.
    These souls are not only confined to the South but also in the the East and the North.
    Definetly this segment is not a client base for Heroin.
    Or even adulterated Heroin Tablets which were sold to the British Rugby players in Kollupitiya for LKR 17,000..
    My3 Sira wants to be the Presidential Candidate again according to his main aide the General Sec of the SLFF Duminda …
    Sira couldn’t beat the Red Baby Elephant Party even at the Mini Election.
    Where can Sira collect 6.2 Million this time?.
    This is all Election Gimmicks.
    Why would the Buddhist Monks get involved in this Drug Business when 5 Million of their people are in the 2 Dollar a Day Community…

  • 0
    0

    Lets cut through the bullshit…. Sri Lakan politicians of all colours are financed by the drug warlords…the politicians, police, army, the Sangha, all know who these underworld drug warlords are …but they cant touch them…so what is the point of death penalty…?

    some destitute drug pusher in the bottom end of the supply chain may be arrested and sent to the galores…the political elite will carry on wining and dining at Cinnamon Grand and Shangari la with the drug warlords

  • 3
    0

    The root cause and the undeniable fact for the escalation of this dreadful menace is the direct involvement of the politicians. We saw how container loads of Ethanol were brought to SL. by politicians of last regime transgressing all Custom Laws. We have not forgotten the role played by the Ex. President Rajapakse when one of his acolyte’s house in Negombo was raided by Police and the subsequent reply given to one of his senior Cabinet Minister. So, where is the problem? What is the use of the capital punishment when the the politician is in league with the God fathers and the king pins. The broad day murders are swept under the carpet and the perpetrators are walking the streets mimicking the Yaha palna and the Judiciary. In these vital issues Govt. is dishonest and is playing hide and seek. Before you talk big to the gallery about enacting death penalty,apply the existing Laws to the very letter to eradicate this vicious cycle.
    Dr. Samarasinghe we thank you for the well explained write up. I hope Our President and PM will find some time to read it.

  • 3
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    Catching the sprats and killing them wont do any good. The President is missing the Woods for the Trees, and we know why. This well crafted report should some guidance to a solution to the drug problem. However the reality is that drug Lords or the Sharks that prey on the sprats will have to be eliminated if any dent can be made on the widespread drug use in the country. Politicians, law enforcement officers, customs officers and others who are on the take from Drug Lords should rot in hell for the damage they are doing to so many people and their families in the country. As I have said before on this topic, they should be sent to jail for life and their assets confiscated and sold to fund a rehabilitation program for addicts.

  • 2
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    There are so many factors contribute to the drugs problem and there is no easy solution to solve this problem. The most important thing in resolving a problem is understanding and recognising that others should have the same right as me and the recognition that I am not superior to others. Lord Buddha taught us this long time back. Unfortunately we in Srilanka one hand take Buddhism and on the other hand we practice everything against Lord Buddha’s teaching. In otherwords, on the name of saving Buddhism we kill Buddha’s teachings. If you are a leader you should lead on our principles of human values. Otherwise you are not suitable to lead a religion or a nation. If the leader goes wrong everything goes wrong. That is what happening in this country. This country face massive problems on law and order, justice, social life, religious life, economy, including drugs problem. People are in the darkness. Religions need good leadership, nation needs good leadership to bring people together to fight against all these illnesses. Can Srilanka produce such leadership?

  • 0
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    The commenters here express the view that drug running has to have political connections. This is the general consensus prevailing among the person-on-the-street.
    Large quantities of drugs are intercepted but the undetected imports must be very very large. This is certainly much much more than our market requirement. Obviously there is an export business as well. How is this possible? Hint: Our police are no angels.
    .
    Duterte is not able to lay his hands on the king-pins. Can we?
    .
    Executing small fries will not help the mission to eliminate this drug dealing. Our misery is very high – small fries may include 10 year olds.

  • 0
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    It is not necessary to consume drugs to get ‘drugged’ most of the MP’s get drugged as soon they are elected.

  • 3
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    The problem of drug use includes both pharmaceutical and illicit drugs. Both are over-used and there are many misconceptions. One is that Cannabis (Hemp) is a “drug” rather than a herb. Tobacco is also a herb and both have been smoked for thousands of years for their stimulatory and calming effect.

    Heroin was first manufactured over 100 years ago by the German drug company Bayer (which also marketed Aspirin as ‘Disprin’). Bayer promoted Heroin as a solution to Opium addiction, which had been DELIBERATELY caused among Chinese prior to and after the Opium Wars of the 1840s.

    The War on Drugs was actually a War Against Hemp, which began in the 1920s and was financed by plastics manufaturers like DuPont and strongly supported by Big Pharma and the Alcohol Lobby. If Cannabis is legalised people are less likely to drink alcohol, which is much more toxic. It will also negatively impact on the profits of the drug companies, which is why they are against the Global Campaign to Legalize Ganja.

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    This article has appeared in today’s “Daily Mirror”. Let’s hope that Sihala and Tamil Translations appear in newspapers.
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    What we say in English doesn’t have sufficient impact.

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    Doctors talking about humanity in Sri Lanka.

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