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The Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention said that they would introduce subject matter pertaining to drugs into the school curriculum where principals and teachers will be empowered to educate students about the danger of drug use.

The Task Force will be monitoring the programme educating children about the harm caused by drug use and the myths concerning the use of certain drugs including cannabis that  are believed to boost  studying.

The programme will be introduced at an early stage in the school grades and progress from there onwards.

Director of the Task Force, Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi said that teams of peers from school students would be formed as a means of obtaining information regarding the access to illicit drugs. A survey had revealed that information pertaining to child abuse too had come to light through such a process.

The Presidential  Task Force is also looking at instituting a separate Police intelligence unit to investigate drug trafficking and the culprits who provide bus drivers and conductors with ganja.  Raids had been conducted in Colombo Fort and Gunasinghapura and arrests had been made recently.

Last year, a discussion had been held in this regard between the Task Force, the Ministry of Transport, the private transportation community, the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the Sri Lanka Railways.  Guidelines had been given by the Task Force to the authorities who had in turn issued circulars. A positive impact had taken place for a short time period after which transportation sector employees had gone back to drug taking as well as the consumption of alcohol during working hours.

“Earlier, we had drug prevention programmes and activities to train schoolchildren, which were conducted by third parties to the education system such as non-governmental organizations and government organizations, which failed and in fact in certain cases ended up with drugs being promoted.

“A half day or one-day programme is to be conducted for all 225 Members of Parliament regarding drug eradication. A similar programme is being scheduled for Provincial Councillors as most of them are the ones who make requests for liquor and bar licences and aid and abet drug dealers. The same will be conducted for Pradeshiya Sabha members, ex-members and those who intend to contest an election,” Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi explained.  RLJ