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Sri Lankan youths vow to stay clear of drugs

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo

Updated: June 28, 2010 07:44 AM GMT
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Youths releasing balloons during the inauguration of the World Anti-Drugs Day rally in Colombo
Youths releasing balloons during the inauguration of the World Anti-Drugs Day rally in Colombo
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More than 2,000 youths swore not to get caught up in a growing drug problem and to fight for a drug-free Sri Lanka, at a special ceremony on June 26 marking World Anti-Drugs Day. The Colombo Plan, a development agency working in 26 Asia-Pacific countries and the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) organized the oath-taking ceremony at a public rally, in Colombo. The oath called for young people to renounce drugs and help others to quit their addiction. “I commit myself to work for a drug-free Sri Lanka”, said one youth repeating the oath administered by a schoolgirl. The theme for this year’s UN Office on Drugs and Crime event was called: “Think health, not drugs.” According to NDDCB figures, Sri Lanka has over 50,000 drug users, who are mostly addicted to heroin and cannabis. Many are young people influenced by Western culture, said Father Jude Rodrigo, a Catholic priest who works among addicts. “The wide availability of drugs, lack of effective law enforcement, tourism and terrorism are the main reasons for growing drug problems among young people,” he told ucanews.com. He said recent large heroin seizures, including one from “highly influential people” demonstrated that drug networks in the country are well established. Youths are the future hope of any nation and if they are lost in drugs, a country will not progress, Colombo Plan Secretary-General Dato’ Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia told rally participants Young and old, NGOs and governmental organizations all working together can tackle the problem, she said. The Colombo Plan’s Malaysian chief, also urged youths to adopt healthy activities, positive lifestyles and live happily without drugs. A special inter-religious prayer meeting before the rally, saw Buddhist, Christian and Muslim clerics invoking God’s blessings on the anti drugs campaign. The event ended with an anti-drugs concert. Related reports Sri Lankan doctor reveals abuse cases Alcoholics go from hell to heaven to help others SR10237.1608

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