The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) will be conducting a national survey next year in order to obtain a better and proper estimate of the number of drug addicts in the country.

The NDDCB are also scheduled to handover the national policy for the prevention of drugs to President Maithripala Sirisena on 26.

Chairman of the NDDCB, Senior Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo, Prof. Ravindra Fernando said that there was an estimated 50,000 heroin addicts in the country at present while 200,000 were estimated to be addicted to cannabis.

These figures are based on statistics pertaining to drug related arrests and those receiving treatment at our rehabilitation centres and facilities, he noted.

The question of the number of new addicts per annum is more difficult gauge as drug use tends to take place in secrecy and therefore we can only guess at the exact figure, yet we assume it to be in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 persons, he added.