Government moots rehab instead of jail for drug addicts

Sarath Weerasekera

The Government is considering sending drug addicts to rehabilitation centres in the future instead of prisons, Public Security Minister Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara said.

The Minister said that studies show that imprisonment does nothing to cure drug addiction and added that rehabilitation and vocational training could be the better option. The Minister said steps have been taken to control narcotic abuse in three phases.

“In future, drug addicts will be sent to rehabilitation camps without imprisonment and they will also be provided with vocational training,” the Minister said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Senarath Paranavithana Memorial Retirement Home building at the Bonavista Home for the Elderly in Unawatuna and the commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the tsunami disaster at the Bonavista Home for the Elderly on Saturday The Minster said: “The drug menace will be prevented in three stages. The first is to physically stop the drugs from entering the country. The second is to reduce the demand. Thirdly, drug addicts will be sent to rehabilitation camps without being imprisoned and given vocational training”.

“Extortion, underworld, child abuse, robbery, rape and drugs cannot exist in this society. These must be successfully eradicated and the people must be allowed to live freely and peacefully,” the Minister said.

“One thousand five hundred Police personnel have tested COVID-19 positive. But, we controlled it. A country cannot be completely locked down. You have to get used to living with COVID-19. Due to this, the country has lost a great deal of income. Politicians alone cannot control this. Therefore, the people should also support,” he observed.

Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thera, President of the Galle Young Buddhists Association Sarath Dias and retired Principal Mrs. Mallika Wirakkodi also spoke.

(Source: Daily News – By Mahinda P. Liyanage)