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Sri Lanka's Approach to the Narcotics Problem (From International Drug Trafficking, P 89-99, 1988, Dennis Rowe, ed. -- See NCJ-117642)

NCJ Number
J A DeSilva
Date Published
11 pages
This paper reviews the history of drug trafficking, legislation, and enforcement in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's strategic geographical position and proximity to countries which produce opium and heroin on a large scale make it convenient for traffickers to smuggle drugs into Sri Lanka. These drugs are sometimes redistributed to Europe, Australia, or Asia. The evolution of Sri Lanka's drug laws encompasses several centuries into the colonial period, and the use of drugs, especially the derivatives of various plants and herbs, has been known to Sri Lanka from ancient times. The illegal distribution and use of narcotics has become increasingly difficult to control in the past decade. Although efforts have been made to control the drug problem at the national level, it has become clear to the government that a more comprehensive effort is required. The government's policy is to give strong support to internal action, whether it be related to law enforcement, prevention, treatment, or other aspects of antinarcotics work. In 1984, an amendment to the Poisons, Opium, and Dangerous Drugs Act introduced the death penalty for the violation of certain sections of the act. Anyone found guilty of possessing over 2 grams of heroin is liable to be sentenced to death. Heroin traffic is aggravated by the heavy involvement of Sri Lankan Tamils (a terrorist group) in the narcotics trade to Western European countries. 13-item bibliography, appended list of penalties for drug trafficking, possession, importing, or exporting.


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