Editorial-Curb the narcotic menace

21 January 2014 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Amidst allegations and counter - allegations over the ‘heroin container’ dominating the news over the past few months, it is time that the general public does not mistake the wood for the tree as there is an urgent need for effective steps to curb the use of heroin and other narcotics mainly by young people.
In the backdrop of the recent developments there are even reports indicating that the relationship between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne have been strained, largely because of the ongoing crisis.

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) – a small but important partner in the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) – is demanding tough action against the Prime Minister over his derogatory remarks on monks and his alleged involvement in the biggest single heroin detection in Sri Lanka’s history and one of the biggest in South Asia. The alleged Pakistani man involved in the racket is believed to be part of a syndicate that has made Sri Lanka the main centre for heroin smuggling in South Asia.

The crisis deepened when on January 1 the Premier launched a stinging attack on JHU leader the Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera.
It was even reported that the President had snubbed the Prime Minister at a Thai Pongal ceremony in Nuwara Eliya, amid speculation that the issue was a flashpoint for a dispute between the SLFP old guard and the Rajapaksa regime.

"Most young people cannot afford to pay about Rs. 30,000/= a month for heroin. So they start robbing from their own homes, starting with various items and then going on to the gold jewellery of their mothers or sisters"

Party political power games apart, the more important issue is how and why tens of thousands of young people mainly in the lower and middle classes are turning or getting addicted to heroin. Unlike alcohol or cigarettes, a young person would need at least Rs. 1000/= a day for heroin inhalation that gives a “kick”. Obviously in this time of high cost of living, most young people cannot afford to pay about Rs. 30,000/= a month for heroin. So they start robbing from their own homes, starting with various items and then going on to the gold jewellery of their mothers or sisters.

Experts in the rehabilitation of addicts have warned families that if things go missing from their homes, it may be a sign that someone is on the heroin trail, who often ends up in a mental breakdown if not death. Detectives and other analysts believe the heroin container detected recently may have been just one of the many brought to Sri Lanka in recent months and years. How many containers were brought and went undetected or how many heroin smugglers are on the run cannot be estimated.

What is evident and most disturbing is the growing degree of political protection and patronage if not the direct participation in the heroin syndicates. This crisis is so shattering that the UNP’s outspoken Sajith Premadasa quipped recently that it might be appropriate to set up a drug rehabilitation centre near the highest legislature. The twin horrors of narcotics and pornography need to be checked immediately by parents, teachers and religious leaders. If this does not happen the younger generation, our future may be heading towards disaster.

  Comments - 1

  • singing fish Wednesday, 22 January 2014 09:31 AM

    I appreciate the editorial about a big headache to all the citizens of SRILANKA.The youngsters are the foundation of this country and if they are ruined by narcotics what is the future for them?.I earnestly appeal to my beloved Srilankan youngsters to use the head to go ahead to establish a bright future and save the country.

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