President Maithripala Sirisena initiated talks on the formation of an authority to rehabilitate drug addicts in his resolve to eradicate illicit drugs and narcotics from of Sri Lanka, the President's Media Division said.
He emphasised the need to rehabilitate drug addicts at the same time and obtained the approval for a cabinet paper presented by him.
Until the authority is established, an interim body has been appointed for rehabilitation of drug addicts.
Its members are Ven. Kuppiyawatte Bodhananda Thera, 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 the State Ministry, Shanthi Naukarasan.
The President met the members of the Interim Authority at the Presidential Secretariat and stressed the need to fulfil the mandate given to them.
He advised them to utilise modern methods of drug rehabilitation adopted by foreign countries and to commence their rehabilitation work in the Northern Province. He asked the members to submit their recommendations by next week.
The authority is expected to work with the President’s Office, Police and Ministries of Health and Education.
This is the first time that such an authority on drug addict rehabilitation has been established in Sri Lanka. The President said stringent laws would be implemented against illicit drugs and other related activities in the future. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)