Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Initiates Moves to Set up a Drug Rehabilitation Centre Within Municipal Limits in an Effort to Curb the Rise of Heroin Addiction among Northern Youth


Mirudhula Thambiah

In an effort to curb increasing heroin addiction among youth in Jaffna, the city’s Mayor Attorney Visvalingam Manivannan has said he will soon initiate a dialogue with other stakeholders of the city with the goal of establishing a drug rehabilitation centre within municipality limits.

Speaking to The Morning, Manivannan on 23 October said that he hopes to commence talks with the representatives of the Jaffna District Secretariat, the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, the Jaffna Bar Association, the Police, the Department of Education and the Regional Health Directors, in this regard.

“We are yet to fix a date to initiate the dialogue. Heroin addiction and related cases have currently been on the rise in Jaffna. People are dissatisfied that the Government authorities and security forces are not taking adequate action to curb the situation. Our very first step would be creating an awareness programme,” he said.

Earlier, Jaffna Teaching Hospital Director Dr. P. Sathiyamoorthy told The Morning that 10 deaths have occurred during the last three months due to heroin addiction and its side effects. He also noted that the above causes of death were confirmed in the autopsy reports of the Jaffna Judicial Medical Officer.

Dr. Sathiyamoorthy further stressed that around 185 patients are currently receiving treatment at relevant psychiatric clinics due to withdrawal symptoms and psychological side effects of drug addiction.

Furthermore, more than 300 persons in the Jaffna prison are affected by drug addiction among which, most are addicted to heroin, he noted, going on to say: “However, the Prisons Department is managing these prisoners very well.”

Dr. Sathiyamoorthy also noted that the sudden increase in heroin addiction could be due to an increase in its supplies. He also brought to attention an increase in drug addiction seen among school students who are mainly in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level )O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) classes.

Therefore, parents, teachers and principals have been requested to remain vigilant, paying strict attention to this escalating situation in order to safeguard students from drug addiction.
“There have been cases where school students were of the view that heroin can help them study well and as a result cover a vast area of all subjects. We have come across such cases in our clinics,” he further noted.

Courtesy:The Morning