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The Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention will convene a meeting with all the stakeholders involved in drug eradications efforts including those who conduct narcotics related raids to formulate a plan and adopt an urgent programme of action to tackle the pressing issue of drug dealers peddling to school children.

The move follows after a recent meeting held between President Maithripala Sirisena and the intelligence services, the law enforcement authorities including the tri forces, the Police, the Special Task Force, the Customs and the Department of Prisons, and elsewhere the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB), at which President Sirisena had been highly concerned about the fact that even though drug eradication efforts were undertaken and drug consignments were nabbed, there was no shortage of illegal drugs available.

President Sirisena had advised the said authorities to take into custody the drug dealers, drug smugglers and drug traffickers as opposed to chasing after drug users. The authorities especially the Department of Prisons had highlighted the preventive measures taken by them.

Director of the Task Force, Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi said that the NDDCB too had especially come under fire for not fulfilling the tasks mandated by law and assigned to them and instead were engaged in spending a lot of money on minor solutions to the drug problem in the country. The required international support in this regard is available.  Most definitely, a change in the whole approach is required, he added, noting that drugs being pushed to children should be treated as a priority issue to be addressed immediately.

The Department of Police report for 2016 states that in 2015, 13,548 kilograms (kgs) of narcotic drugs including cannabis sativa (ganja), hashish, cocaine, opium and heroin had been caught while the figure for the same for last year was 388, 722 kgs confiscated.