Background of the Study
At the time of very beginning, human beings had always been attached in their social world and had an intimate, cooperative and long term relationship among each other. People adapted and organized themselves for some common intention which mostly brought positive outcomes in the ancient era. French Revolution and Industrial Revolution had shifted the society in unparalleled ways and had formed new collective of complexities that would had never occurred before (Giddens, 2001). These changes created social problems among people. Social problems are the general issues which are rapidly increased in the contemporary society (Rao, 1990). There are number of social problems existing in the world such as teenage pregnancy, drug addiction, poverty, domestic violence, child abuse, prostitution, road traffic accidents, divorce and crime, etc.
Drug addiction has become a serious social problem in the contemporary world which proves to be a major and sever social problem in developing and underdeveloped nations in the modern era of globalization. It is not easy to assume or come to a conclusion that drug addiction is a problem that only affects the person taking the drugs. Most of the victims of drug abuse actually claim that it is their individual behaviour of harming themselves. However, the truth is well-known and fair that drug addiction affects more than just the individual. Drug addiction is a complex multi-faceted problem and considered as a severe social problem faced by most of the countries in the world. Drugs are harmful to human society not because of the addiction, but also because of the addicts who lose their young worthiest life (Brill, 1966).
Drug addiction and abuse is not a recent phenonomenon which play no favourite. Millions and thousands of people around the world have given up control of their lives in favour of drug addiction. In the last couple of decades the usage of drugs, especially illicit drugs are spreaded all over the world and many people start to use this drugs without any distinction and differentiation. At the beginning people started to use drugs occationally and people heve the control over the drugs whatever they consume. Now the situtation is changed as drugs have the control over individuals and made them to think that they cant live without it. The Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov in the UN General assembly special session on the world drug problem higlighted that “There is much work to be done to confront the many harms inflicted by drugs to health, development, peace and security, in all regions of the world,”. Previously numbers of studies have been carried out on drug addiction and abuses all over the world which talked about the seriousness of this social problem over individuals and society, though the severity of drug addiction comforting the significant population in the world today.
This drug addiction has become a global problem today which needs to be addressed immediately. Not surprisingly, drug addiction has become one of the social problems and significant public health concern in Sri Lanka too (Silva & Fonseka, 2008). The country already lost valuable human lives who contributed to the development of the country due to the manmade disaster and natural disasters. This drug addiction also now become as another problem in Sri Lanka, especially among the youth and working population.
In this regard this study was focused on one of the serious social problem existing in the world “Drug Addiction” with the objective identifying the diverse effects and consequences of drug addiction in Sri Lanka. This study was based on secondary data which was already published by different authors. Books, journals, review reports, magazines, articles and reliable web sites ware used to collect the sufficient data. Content analysis method was used for this study to get the needed information. Collected data were summarized and presented in text and figure in an appropriate and descriptive manner that can be easily understandable and utilized by the readers.
Conceptual Framework of Drug Addiction
Drugs are often considered as unnatural contaminants that are pushed into a society form the outside deviant forces. Many people are afraid of drugs and its invasion. Drug has positive and negative meanings that depend on the usage along with the intention behind it. As well as according to the mode of administration and the social class of the user also influence in the perception of drugs. For instance “cannabis” is considered as a drug while alcohol is not in many countries, as well as some drugs are used by the doctors for the medical purposes and prescribed to cure some diseases This positive intention of using drugs is widely accepted by the society in the basis of well-being of its members.
Generally, drugs are classified into two categories as licit drugs and illicit drugs. Licit drugs are known as legal drugs. Making, selling and using of this kinds of drugs are not forbidden. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are some of the examples of licit drugs. Illicit drugs are prohibited illegal to make, sell or use by people. Illicit drugs have been classified as illegal because they threaten to health, life of the victims as well as danger to society. Heroin, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, methamphetamine, amphetamines and hallucinogens are some of the examples of these kinds of drugs. These illicit drugs are highly addictive and have serious risks in all ways (Brecher, 1972).
However the psychoactive drugs which affect the central nervous system change brain function resulting in temporary changes in a consumer’s perception, thinking, mood, consciousness and behaviour have acquired a negative meaning due to its overconsumption and negative impacts. In this regard, a drug is defined as any substances with the exception of food and water which changes and has an effect on the functions of the body either physically and/or psychologically when taken into the body (Global Commission on Drug Policy, 2017).
There are numbers of harmful drugs available legally and illegally in society. Heroin, Cocaine, Barbiturates, Opium, Marijuana, Alcohol, Ketamine, Benzodiazepines, Amphetamine, Tobacco, Buprenorphine, Cannabis, Solvents, LSD, Ritalin, Anabolic Steroids. GHB, Ecstasy, Khat are famous drugs available in the globe. These harmful drugs are regulated according to the significance to physical, psychological and social harms. Drugs is classified according to its levels of harm on drug users and levels of control by the authorities. Heroin ranked as the most harmful and highly controlled substance in the world. Heroin, Cocaine and Barbiturates have high level of harm. Cocaine, Ectacy, LSD, Cannabis have high level of control locally and internationally in the world. Alcohol, Ketamine, Benzodiazepines, Amphetamine, Tobacco and Buprenorphine have moderate level of harm. Cannabis, Solvents, LSD, Ritalin, Anabolic Steroids. GHB, Ecstasy and Khat have low level of harm. Alcohol, Ketamine, Tobacco, Solvents, Anabolic Steroids and Khat are not subject to any international control or regulation (Nutt, Leslie, Saulsbury ; Blakemore, 2007).
Drug addiction is the result of someone simply taking drug/drugs casually for pleasure, and then taking accidently and becoming addicted on the substance and thereafter enslaved to that substances. Drugs are often displayed as a substance which is powerful, seductive and rapidly addictive where everyone is at the risk for addiction. Drug addiction is considered as a complex disease which changes the brain to quitting hard even though those who want to (Global Commission on Drug Policy, 2017). Now drug addiction is out-dated due to its severity, it has evolved as drug dependence. US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defined drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that “characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” lead to much harmful destructive behaviour (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016).
Global Expansion of Drug Addiction
Morbidity and mortality resulting from drug abuse is increased globally. According to World Drug Report (2017), 29.5 million people globally suffer from drug use disorders. 0.6% of the global adult population highly vulnerable to drug use disorders. ‘Opioids’ is the most harmful drug type in the world which accounted for 70% of the negative health impact. Usage of ‘amphetamines’ also increase the global burden of disease. ‘Hepatitis C’ is causing the greatest harm among 12 million people worldwide. The access to the treatment of drug addiction remains poor and very expensive in most countries (World Drug Report, 2017). The following are the leading top countries consuming drugs such as Iran (Heroin, 14.32 Per capita), United Kingdom (Alcohol, 13.65 Per capita), France (Prescription Pills, 13.2% Per capita), Slovakia (Inhalants, 13.01Per capita), Russia (Alcohol, 7.1 Per capita), Afghanistan (Heroin, 6.9% Per Capita), Canada (Marijuana, 6.4% Per capita) and USA (Prescription Pills, 6.2% Per capita) (Global Outlook for Most Drug Addicted Countries, 2016).
Compared to other regions in the world, the prevalence of drug addiction is limited in Asia. The high regulation and capital punishments in some countries are attributed to the limited expansion of drugs among the people. Also, the usages of illicit drugs are rare in Asia. Culture, religious values and norms among people also play a crucial role to shape up the desire of the youngsters towards illicit drugs in Asia. Cambodia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos and Malaysia, China, Myanmar and Vietnam are some example countries in Asia where moderate rate of drugs usage is prevailing. The lack of official data and prevalence rates are not available in some countries. The studies about this issue also rare compared to other regions (Devaney, Reid, ; Baldwin, 2007). According to the World Drug Report of UNODC 2017, high level of misuse of prescription “Opiods” reported by many countries in Asia (World Drug Report, 2017).
Alcohol and drugs abuse has become a noticeable social problem in South Asia too. India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the countries mostly inflicted to drugs abuse in South Asian region. Heroin, cannabis, opium, and pharmaceutical preparations are the commonly abused drugs in these countries. Alcohol and tobacco in combinations with other drugs also is seen in these countries. The drugs addiction below age 7 and of heroin and cannabis at age 18–20 has been reported in this region. Along with male population, women abusers are on an increase in South Asian countries (Sharma, 2009).
All the countries in South Asia have a considerable legal regulatory system to control the expansion of drugs. Though, the problem is improper implementation of the laws due to lack of weak organizations and lack of will of the officials. Smuggling is the main source of getting drugs in South Asian countries. India and Sri Lanka are smuggled goods by sea lanes. Bangladesh, India and Nepal use land borders for drug smuggling (Misuse of Prescription Drugs: a South Asia Perspective, 2011).
DIVERSE EFFECTS DRUGS IN SRI LANKA
Drugs Expansion in Sri Lanka
Drug addiction was not considered as a noticeable social problem in Sri Lanka until the early 1980s. It is now become a major problem due impacts on public health, stimulate crimes, diseases, poverty and destruct family life (Silva ; Fonseka, 2008). The experience of Sri Lank in dealing with drugs abuse problem is exclusive in many ways. People started to take drugs for Ayurveda medical practices in limited amount in the ancient era. The influence of colonial masters was the major contributor to the expansion of illicit drugs in Sri Lanka from the sixteenth century to twentieth century; especially the colonial powers synchronized the use of opium as one of the revenues of their kingdom (Jayasuriya, 1995).
After the independence in 1948, the authority took number of initiatives to reduce the use of drugs like opium, cannabis, and psychotropic substances. Though, not every measure has been successful and the problem of drug addiction continues in its own way of having sufficient amount of addicts in Sri Lanka. After the colonization, ethnic confusion and riots in Sri Lanka also had influenced drug smuggling across the national boundaries. The absence of comprehensive measures and policies on drug abuse cause inadequate development of interventions for treatments and rehabilitation in Sri Lanka (Jayasuriya, 1995).
Further implemented laws and policies on drug abuse and the regulation on drug addicts also has not brought major changes in the drugs market in Sri Lanka. The drugs dealers and consumers are increasing year by year with diverse effects on all. Fortunately, as a multi ethnic country Sri Lanka has a rich tradition of culture, family bonds and religious institutions which can have a ultimate control on drugs and drug addiction. Few studies have been carried out in drug addiction and its adverse effect in Sri Lanka, the previous studies also focused on quantitative figures and measures which brought basic demographic, economic, and social condition of drug addicts. Drug addiction should be carried out in qualitative way with sufficient information make changes in the country.
Sri Lanka gets drugs from internal sources and external sources. A few types of drugs are illegally cultivated in Sri Lanka like cannabis. Pharmacies play a crucial role in drug dealings in Sri Lanka. Pharmacies are the primary domestic source of drug distributor in the nation. The pharmacists’ personal user licence gives a chance to buy and supply beyond the limit. Most of these pharmaceutical drugs are marketing in Sri Lanka from India via aeroplane and ship. Smuggling from Pakistan also recorded. Illegal websites from USA, UK, Europe, etc. also offer drugs to the nation where online pharmacies transmit orders of drugs (Misuse of Prescription Drugs: a South Asia Perspective, 2011).
Drug Addiction in Sri Lanka
According to the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) (2017) of Sri Lanka, the total number of arrests related to drugs was 79,378 in 2016 which has been increased by 4% compared with 2015 arrests. Out of the total drugs, 35% was heroin and 60% was cannabis. 60% of the drugs related arrests have been reported from the Western province, 9% of the drugs related arrests have been reported from the Southern province, and 10% of the drugs related arrests have been reported from the Central province. 43% of the drug addicts were arrested from Colombo district, 13% were from Gampaha district, and 4% of the drug addicts were arrested at Kurunegala district in Sri Lanka. The occurrence of drug related arrest was 390 per 100,000 people in 2017 (Handbook of Drug Abuse Information, 2017).
Based on the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) of Sri Lanka, urban areas and main cities of the nation are threaten to illicit drugs and can find higher amount of drugs prevalence in urban compared to rural village areas in Sri Lanka. Drugs related offences also impacted severely in Sri Lanka. In 2016, drugs related prison admissions were reached the amount of 24,060. Heroine and cannabis are the drugs mostly taken by the addicts in Sri Lanka. Compared with the usage of heroin, the consumption of cannabis is become higher. The cannabis plant is cultivated nearly 500 hectares in Sri Lanka in dry zones like North Eastern, Eastern and Southern provinces. Cannabis is easy to cultivate with minimum labour input and fertilizers compared to other cash crops in Sri Lanka. Heroine was brought by outsiders to the country; tourist’s arrival is the basic reason for this invasion of heroine. Addicted tourists spread the particular drugs among needed people. The usage of cocaine, opium and other substances are very low. The following figure 1 show the drug related arrests by different kinds of drugs as follows.
Figure1: Drug related arrests by different kinds of drugs
Drug usage is also a major risk for HIV/AIDS infection due to the injecting needles. If the injecting needles shared with others it has the high chance of transmitting this disease among people. According to official records, there are 2,557 HIV positive cases were recorded in Sri Lanka. Along with the increase in the numbers of drug users, the prices of drugs are also increasing. The laws and regulation didn’t play a worthiest role to monitor and control the usage of dangerous drugs in Sri Lanka where we lost our earning to afford drugs. The average street price of the drugs also increased due to the demand of particular drugs in Sri Lanka. For example in 2016, the average street price of the heroine was LKR 9 million which is a 13% of the increase of the average street price level in 2015 (LKR 8 million). The average street price of cannabis in 2016 was LKR 22,000 and for opium was LKR 1.5 million (Handbook of Drug Abuse Information, 2017). The following figure 2 illustrates the market fluctuations in average street level prices of drugs.
Figure 2: Average Street Level Prices of Drugs
Institutional Cere and the Role of Rehabilitation Centres in Sri Lanka
Drug addiction has been increased in Sri Lanka compared to past records. This drug addiction has enormous effect on individuals, family, society and the development of the total country. According to the study of PV De Silva and P Fonseka on Drug addicts and their behaviour related to drug addiction among the institutionalized addicts of the Galle District (2008), rehabilitation of drug addicts has become an urgent need of the country to serve its valuable citizen to build the nation with sustainability. National Dangerous Drug Control Board which was established in 1984 implemented and still implementing numbers of policies and regulations in respect to address this issue under the purview of government. The first drug rehabilitation centre was started by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 1987. Later on, the government and private bodies started rehabilitation centres all over the island to save the enslaved people of drug addicts (Silva & Fonseka, 2008).
Currently Sri Lankan government and Non-Governmental organizations are serving residential care treatment and rehabilitation services for drug addicts in the nation. As a citizen of Sri Lanka, a drug dependent should get compulsory treatment facilities to overcome from the influence of drugs. There are four residential treatment centres are established in Sri Lanka under the purview of NDDCB, those are located in Colombo, Kandy, Galle and Nittambuwa(Handbook of Drug Abuse Information, 2017). The study of Silva & Fonseka failed to focus on what are the treatments or the special programmes provide by these rehabilitation which is essential to identify the efficiency of the treatments and services of the rehabilitation centres in Sri Lanka.
Family counselling, which include detoxification treatment, physical exercises, mental relaxation, indoor and outdoor activities, psychotherapy, educational and vocational training, coping skills and motivation to develop healthy lifestyles are the major activities and treatments provide by these rehabilitation centres(Handbook of Drug Abuse Information, 2017). Family counselling is essential to drug dependents. Make them aware of good family life and their support to the family is important. Along with other medical therapeutic treatments, educational and training activities should definitely give a hope among the victims. After their complete recovery, this sort of sustainable activities in vocational training is very much helpful to manage their future with good job and living condition.
Currently there are 2,355 drug dependents getting Treatment Island wide in these rehabilitation centres. These treatment admissions have been increased by 59% in 2016 compared to 2015 records. See the county’s situation. 51% of the drug dependents were treated from Colombo district (Handbook of Drug Abuse Information, 2017). Urban setting plays an important role in human behaviours too. The following figure 3 shows the treatment admissions of drug addicts from 2012 to 2016, in 2012 the treatment admission were 1,109 where its increased gradually and reached the level of 2,355 in 2016.
866775233045 Figure 3: Numbers of Treatment Admissions
The study of Silva ; Fonseka on Drug addicts and their behaviour related to drug addiction among the institutionalized addicts of the Galle District (2008) highlighted that majority of the drug addicts are male population (99%) in the rehabilitation centre (Silva ; Fonseka, 2008). This situation is still continuing in Sri Lanka. The handbook of drug abuse information 2017 reported that, compared to other countries Sri Lanka remains in a good condition of female drug addicts with very low amount of figures.
The Severity of Drugs over Youngsters
Drug dealing has become a serious psycho-social problem in Sri Lanka. In whatever ways, people used to get addicted to different kinds of drugs available in the market. The drug addiction is considered as a disease when our brain gets enslaved to drugs which rule us. We need to control the drugs before drugs control us. The distributor of drugs can make a huge amount of money, though the total lost and cost of drug addiction is immeasurable. This drug addiction slowly kills the person’s physically, psychology and socially. The drug addicts often considered as an avoidable one in the society. People started to avoid being contact with the person and this lead to low social integration and low social regulation.
According to Emile Durkheim’s theory of suicide if a person feels social isolation and low level of integration in the society where he grew, led him to commit suicide. As we discussed in the conceptual framework, drug addiction has adverse effects on individual, family, society and whole country physically, psychologically and economically. Without any distinction and differentiation both rich and poor are becoming addicted to drugs. The contribution of social institutions has not work on some specific individual whatever all tries.
In Sri Lanka, younger generation especially school children have influenced by drugs. Some school children dissolve drugs pills and powder in their soft drinks and get used to it. According to the statistics available on drugs, most heroin abusers are 16-30 years old youngsters. Also in Sri Lanka, drug kingpins have a lot of power in the illegal and underground dealings on drugs. These drug kingpins have high standard of living and very respectful lives, but they are destroying others life by their cheap and hateful drug marketing among innocent and poor people.
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