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Med Law. 1995;14(1-2):37-43.

The drug abuse problem in Sri Lanka.

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Institute of Comparative Health Policy and Law, Nawala, Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka's experience in dealing with drugs of abuse and with the drug abuse problem is unique in many ways. From the sixteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century, the colonial powers regulated the use of opium as a revenue earning measure. Since independence was achieved in 1948, various measures have been taken to scale down the abuse of opium, cannabis and certain pyschotropic substances, but not all these efforts have been successful. In the wake of ethnic problems, there has been an increase in the involvement of Sri Lankan nationals in smuggling drugs across national frontiers. The absence of a comprehensive national policy on drug abuse has been a major constraint on law enforcement and the development of interventions for education, treatment, rehabilitation and crop substitution. Sri Lanka is fortunate to have a rich tradition of networks of non-governmental organizations and religious institutions, and these can be mobilized to discourage the use of intoxicating drugs and alcohol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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