The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) said today that some 45,000 Sri Lankans were drug addicts and that four camps had been set up in Kandy, Nittambuwa, Galle and Colombo to rehabilitate them.
“About 2,000 drug addicts come for in-house treatment annually. But the NDDCB has facilities to treat only 1,000 of them annually while the NGOs also treat 2,000 drug addicts annually,” NDDCB Chairperson Leisha De Silva said.
She said the drug addicts were provided with three months’ vocational training and special programmes were conducted by the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board and the Health Ministry to help the patients overcome stress.
“Children below 20 years are being rehabilitated in the Kandy centre while the others are categorized according to the duration of their drug addiction and sent to respective camps. Special attention has been made to provide school education to the children as well,” Ms. De Silva said.
She said another camp was established in Kandakadu in August last year to rehabilitate drug addicts who were in remand prison, where they were provided with an year’s vocational training apart from medical treatment.
In addition to the rehabilitation camps set up by the NDDCB, about 15 NGOs are also operating their own camps under the NDDCB for rehabilitating drug addicts.
“Rehabilitation centers registered under NGOs are being closely monitored to see whether they are maintaining the proper standards while steps are being taken to register other unregistered NGOs,” Ms. De Silva said.
She said the NDDCB had set up a help desk to obtain information about drug traffickers and said people could provide such information through the NDDCB hotline --1984.
“We receive about 250 to 300 complaints a week. And we provide that information to the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, the Excise Department and the National Medicinal Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics Regulatory Authority to take necessary steps to reduce the demand for narcotics and to dismantle the narcotics supply in the country, she said.
Ms. De Silva revealed that the NDDCB spent about Rs.1 million a month to provide food for drug addicts who were being rehabilitated at the four camps.(Darshana Sanjeewa and Ajith Siriwardana)