Drugs in schools: Country’s biggest problem – Mahinda

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s children are facing a massive issue with drug dealers targeting students near schools making the spread of drug addiction the most serious problem facing the nation, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa says.

Speaking at an event in Colombo, Wednesday, Rajapaksa said that in the past a student found smoking a cigarette would be sacked from the school.

“But today marijuana, heroin and even more dangerous drugs such as “Ice” is being sold to children” he said.

“Kilograms of these drugs are being detected by police. If we all don’t come together to save the children from drug addiction our nation will be seriously affected,” Rajapaksa warned.

He said that at different times nations face different issues. “During the war all the other issues were neglected. But now we have to deal with the spread of drug addiction.”

The previous administration also identified the drug issue as a menace threatening the school-going population and the Universities.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena personally led the drive against drugs and multiple detections were made.

Rajapaksa also identified the conversion of “traditional Buddhist families to other religions” as an issue facing the nation.

Speaking to the audience of mostly Buddhist monks from around the country he said he attended a wedding recently where a family which had been Buddhists for generations had converted to another religion which he did not specify.

“I call on the Venerable Clergy to keep a close eye on your communities,” he said

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The Prime Minister was speaking at the Annual Convention of the All Ceylon Buddhist Councils(සමස්ත ලංකා ශාසනාරක්ෂක මණ්ඩල සමුළුව). The state funds some 324 Councils around the country which are responsible for running Buddhist Dhamma schools and disbursing funds for various charities.

The councils were set up in 1895 to run the Buddhist schools “because our culture and religion were being eroded during the British times,” Rajapaksa observed.

“Now I wonder whether we are back in those bad times,” he said. (Colombo, February 27, 2020)

-Arjuna Ranawana

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