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Taking the mindset beyond drugs

24 January 2019 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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President Sirisena (left) and President Philippine Rodrigo Duterte

Sri Lanka’s efforts to curb drug use in the country could turn out to be harder than instilling some discipline in its lawmakers.  Just days ago President Sirisena was full of confidence when stating that he would bring the drug trade that’s causing damage to the society under control. A large truth we need to fathom is that a fair number of politicians are directly or indirectly involved in the drug trade. Presidents can vouch to wipe out drugs from the society. But in this backdrop we also heard recently that the law enforcement authorities had disbanded a special unit checking on the drug trade and operating in Kilinochchi. Its members have been transferred to other police stations. It was also reported that a political bigwig was behind the police transfers. 

What’s heartening to hear is that the police have begun an operation to crack down on drug trafficking and have introduced a mobile unit for this purpose. There is also STF support for high ride operations aimed at busting drug rackets. 

The roots of the drug trade are spread far and wide. Sirisena has stuck to his stance of implementing the capital punishment on drug racketeers. But the whole drug business in the island has spread like a cancer. The latest we hear of is that the files, which contain the names of drug related prisoners on death row, has gone missing. It seems the drug mafia is large and operates like a well-oiled machine. There are even newspaper reports which state that certain drug kingpins operate their drug businesses from within the prison cells. 
The issue with the drug trade is that people who pose as ordinary decent folk are engaged in this business. President Sirisena warned the other day that politicians and officials who posed as gentlemen were involved in the drug business. He also hit out at NGOs which sympathised with drug dealers. 

But the whole drug business in the island has spread like a cancer. The latest we hear of is that the files, which contain the names of drug related prisoners on death row, has gone missing. It seems the drug mafia is large and operates like a well-oiled machine

President Sirisena claims that his efforts to eradicate drugs from the society began 45 years ago. That was when he was an ordinary politician. Now he is the most powerful citizen of the country. Recently he visited the Philippines where he grabbed the opportunity to tap their knowledge of how to eradicate drugs from the society. Sirisena has boasted of receiving the support of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on this endeavour. But Sirisena is also aware of the fact that Duterte’s drug curbing policies have attracted severe criticism by human rights groups. For the record Duterte’s drug curbing policies saw the police and paid vigilance groups eliminating 5000-12000 people; drug dealers and drug users were among those who perished. 

But what we need to fathom is that despite such harsh methods being used, drug use is rampant in the Philippines and drug lords have managed to dodge the police. This is an information era. Before Sirisena returned to Sri Lanka his intensions to control the drug menace back at home flashed in headlines in global newspapers. Those compiling these news reports however didn’t forget to give equal publicity to both the good and the bad factors associated with Duterte’s drug curbing policies.  

The problem with drug rehabilitation efforts is that Sri Lankan methods don’t seem to be effective. Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) compiled statistics reveal that as many as 75% of those who undergo rehabilitation return to the use of drugs. For the record 24% Sri Lankans are drug users and as many as 80,000 individuals between the ages 15-64 are hooked on substance abuse. Officials have also warned that there are those who successfully undergo rehabilitation, but can’t avoid returning to the drug community which they once associated with. 

One of the annoying issues associated with the drug world is the violent confrontation between rival gangs. Recently there was a fatal shooting incident in Wattala and the violence originated from a feud which began four years ago. As a result of such incidents normal civilians walking on the road are exposed to serious threats at times when there is gunfire. 

Before Sirisena returned to Sri Lanka his intensions to control the drug menace back at home flashed in headlines in global newspapers. Those compiling these news reports however didn’t forget to give equal publicity to both the good and the bad factors associated with Duterte’s drug curbing policies

What’s heartening to hear is that the police have begun an operation to crack down on drug trafficking and have introduced a mobile unit for this purpose. There is also STF support for high ride operations aimed at busting drug rackets. 

For years the Sri Lankan authorities have fought those involved in the drug trade with mixed results. What many positive thinkers opine is that looking at drugs in an entirely negative way has not produced the desired results. Starting from the tobacco filled cigarettes, health authorities have viewed intoxicants with skepticism, but haven’t suggested a good enough alternative for substance use. 

Meditation and counter drugs have been prescribed with little results. But there have been great success stories of Indian spiritual masters having gone beyond drugs and achieving mind development; to perform super efficiently when undertaking a task at hand. Most of them were able to kick the drug habit when they found a mechanism within the human body which could be tapped when there was a need to be super conscious of the task at hand. 

Dr. Robert Svaboda, author of ‘Aghora-the left hand of God’, is one who writes extensively about substance use and how ancient societies used them to produce positive effects. For the record Dr. Svaboda claimed to be the first Westerner to graduate from a college of Ayurveda and be licensed to practise Ayruveda in India. As much as he talks about the terrible side effects of drugs such as hashish and marijuana, he also talks about a stimulant like tobacco having over 100 important users in Ayurveda. He states in the book that ancient Rishis used certain mantras to ensure the drug helped raise awareness and didn’t ruin the mind. He also talks about knowledgeable drug users using antidotes whenever taking intoxicants. This is of course another side to the subject of drug use. After all the marijuana comes from a plant and is considered a herb. 

But today Rishis remain inside jungles and most of the intoxicant drugs in the market are said to be of low quality are sprayed with chemicals to enhance shelf life. These chemicals are said to create havoc in the human body, superceding the effort produced by the drug itself. 

What many positive thinkers opine is that looking at drugs in an entirely negative way has not produced the desired results. Starting from the tobacco filled cigarettes, health authorities have viewed intoxicants with skepticism, but haven’t suggested a good enough alternative for substance use

What’s positive about the past is that those who used intoxicants to aid thinking related work were able to later obtain the same effects of the drugs by tuning their minds to a super conscious state. These stories leave a pattern which benefits the observer. The normal healthy person taking to drug use sees his world change from caterpillar to a cocoon. Those who kick the drug habit have emerged as butterflies! 

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