Sri Lankan statement on drug demand reduction

We are interested in the rehabilitation and re-integration of drug users into society. We do not treat the drug abuser as a criminal anymore, instead we look at them as people who need treatment.

We believe that drug demand does not depend on a biological or phyiscal need, it is simply a psychological dependence. Sri Lanka has also started treatment for alcoholism.

This morning the presentation included mention of harm reduction, but this did not include substitution and needle exchange and I was pleased by this. We do not believe in substitution as it just moves the abuser from one drug to another. Since the commencement of our treatment programme, our success rate is 25%. We are trying hard to increase this number. Over the last 25 years our number of addicts has not increased. Numbers have remained static and are very slowly coming down.

Abstinence is the theroetical basis of our approach.

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