An interesting story in the Kumbha Jataka of the Five Hundred and Fifty Jataka Story Book of Ancient Literature on the Origin of Alcohol. A Vedda by the name of ‘Sura’ in Baranasnuwara gets drunk on the stagnant water in a tree trunk. Later the Veddas give them to an ascetic named Varna who was in the forest and made him addicted. The two go to town and sell them. Like the townspeople, the king did just that, and the liquor spread throughout the country. In the past, “alcohol” was commonly referred to as narcotics. There are still many types of alcohol approved by the government. Alcohol and tobacco products licensed under government licenses are approved by the government but restricted in use. Also, there are a lot of illegal drugs that are not approved. Cannabis, marijuana, opium, heroin, cocaine, and chemical pills are known as such illicit drugs.
The poppy plant is used in many drug products. These crops are popular in Thailand, Burma, and Laos, known as the “Golden Triangle”. Also known as the “Golden Crescent”, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are also cultivating countries for the production of illicit drugs. Today, this drug is a lucrative business that is invading the world like an octopus.
Sri Lanka had to accept the free economic policy that developed in the world during the globalization of the 1970s. As a result, imports and exports eased. The tourism industry expanded. The drug trade benefited from these. By 2019, the drug menace will have become a major factor in the disruption of the economic, social, political, and cultural systems.
The Dangerous Drugs Control Board is the body legally appointed by the government for the prevention of illicit drugs. The institute conducts research, identification, control, and rehabilitation of drug addicts. Also, the National Drug Prevention Program is being implemented in Sri Lanka under the President with tremendous vigor. The police and security forces are also at the forefront of the fight against drugs.
The role of society in drug prevention is not insignificant. As the drug is not a product of Sri Lanka, social assistance is essential to close the door on drug entry into the country. The airport, harbor, fishing, and other boats are the gateways to drugs. The gatekeepers of these must think of the common good of society rather than the economic advantage they receive. Not only senior officers but also minor employees should be spying against drugs. In a country where communication technology is at an advanced stage, it only takes commitment and courage to provide such intelligence.
Only a handful of the so-called elite protects the drug trade. This is a clandestine business and the virtuous elite have devised subtle strategies for their own security and survival. Instead of seeing them and being like “deaf elephants” it is a social responsibility and a social role to reveal everything. This is because this threat can only be eliminated by proper top-down measures.
Sri Lanka will be forever free from this social menace one day when not only the law, the state apparatus, state institutions but also society will unite and cut off not the feet of the monster but the head.