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Drugs and Alcohol Problem in Sri Lanka


Sri Lankan National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) is the pioneer and the statutorily responsible state body for drug abuse management in Sri Lanka. It co-ordinates prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, enforcement, research and other activities aimed at reducing harm from dangerous drugs and its eventual eradication.


Cannabis is the only plant (drug) that is cultivated illicitly in Sri Lanka. It is mostly cultivated in the dry zone in Eastern, North Eastern and Southern provinces. The estimated land area under cannabis cultivation is nearly 500 hectares. Little labour and other simple inputs are sufficient to give a good cannabis yield compared to other cash crops, and it has very few natural pests. Observations on seized cannabis cultivations imply that modern agricultural methods are being used for this as well. A more potent variety of cannabis with more flowering tops has become popular among the young drug users recently.

Sri Lanka’s experience in dealing with drugs of abuse and with the drug abuse problem is unique in many ways. In the wake of ethnic problems, there has been an increase in the involvement of Sri Lankan nationals in smuggling drugs across national frontiers.

Drug Related Arrests by District and Drug

Drugs and Alcohol Prevention Program

Drugs and Alcohol prevention program includes awareness campaigns, funding drug and alcohol treatment services, a range of prevention activities, as well as supporting activities to guide individuals and communities to overcome drug and alcohol addiction and integrate back into community.

Program outcomes

The Program aims to achieve improved health and social outcomes for individuals, families, and communities at risk of, or currently affected by, substance misuse in North & East of Sri Lanka.

The Activity contributes to the Program’s objectives by:

Pledge to Restore’s drug and alcohol treatment programs introduced to provide better outcomes for individuals, families, carers and communities.

The objectives of the Program are to:

  • Support drug and alcohol treatment services across North and East of Sri Lanka to reduce the impact of substance misuse on individuals, families, carers and communities;
  • Support prevention and early intervention activities and promote evidence-based information about drug and alcohol through education;
  • Support the development of drug and alcohol data to support evidence-based treatment policy and service delivery; and
  • Support service linkages between drug and alcohol treatment services and mental health services, as well as with social, educational and vocational long-term support services.

Drug and alcohol program service delivery

Where a representative from the particular entity meets face to face with the individual client and provides a service during this interaction. Services may include (but are not limited to) withdrawal treatment, assessments, brief interventions, counselling and residential programs (where medical treatment and counselling are provided in-house or within our partner service centres. Generally, services are provided by medical practitioners, nurses, counselors and volunteers.

  • Online drug and alcohol treatment activities and telephone information and referral services; and
  • Capacity building activities with the purpose of strengthening the drug and alcohol sector to improve service outcomes for people with problems relating to drug and alcohol misuse; i.e. through:
  • Developing and maintaining guidelines and resources regarding best practice diagnosis, referral and treatment standards for the drug and alcohol treatment services sector;
  • Improving networking across the sector and between services through knowledge and information sharing;
  • Integrating drug and alcohol treatment services with services provided in the broader health system, including primary care and mental health services, to identify and implement clearer referral pathways;
  • Obtaining and maintaining appropriate industry standards and practices.