Synthetic drugs usage up 40% in WP

Synthetic drugs usage has increased by 40% in the Western Province according to Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (14), DIG Rohana said that this number was revealed after arresting persons with links to the drug mafia.

According to him, the availability of drugs, especially heroin, has been reduced due to strict law enforcement in the country.

“However, the usage of crystal methamphetamine (ice) has increased due to the unavailability of heroin. It is learned that drug consumers use ice as a substitute for heroin,” he said.

DIG Rohana further said that most of the incidents were reported in the Western and Southern Provinces.

Further operations have been launched in the Southern Province as it is emerging as a smuggling and drug hub in Sri Lanka.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), over the past decade, Sri Lanka has been used as a transshipment point for heroin from South West Asia and India to other destinations outside of the subcontinent.

The UNODC added that from even a cursory examination of the arrest and seizure statistics it is evident that, with only a fraction of the region’s population and modest seizure volumes, Sri Lanka accounts for a disproportionately large number of arrests. Such arrests are heavily skewed towards heroin, it said.

The total heroin smuggled into Sri Lanka can be estimated at around 3.5 tonnes per year according to UNODC. This would considerably be in excess of the requirements of drug-dependent persons in the country.

Highlights from the UNODC Global SMART Programme report indicated that synthetic drugs such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy pills are a growing public health concern in many countries across the world.

Sri Lanka is also a transit point for drug trafficking as traffickers act as couriers of drugs from Pakistan and India to Europe and the West through Colombo and Male, according to reports.