300 Rupees worth of heroin. Not mine. Friends are doing a story for this Sunday’s Leader.
Some friends of mine are doing a story and they managed to score Rs. 300 of heroin without too much difficulty, but reports are that the supply has dropped noticeably in the past few weeks. Hmmm.
A marked drop in drug peddling activities and in the use of narcotics has been noticed in Colombo and the suburbs during the past few weeks, the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) said yesterday.
“There is a big drop in the sale and use of heroin and other narcotics. According to reports, drug dealers are facing major obstacles in carrying out their nefarious activities,” a senior narcotics officer said.
“The methods of transporting and storing heroin appear to have changed suddenly,” he said. “We have been working on this for a while and we are hoping that we can make a big breakthrough soon,” he said. (Daily Mirror)
Sri Lanka, especially Colombo, has a serious drug problem. It’s heroin (kudu). I don’t think of heroin as a user problem. Personally, I think heroin addicts should be treated and the heroin should be legal and dispensed only through government centers. Sounds crazy, perhaps, but the alternative is having heroin dosed by dealers that don’t care and corrupting the whole system. This type of controlled legalization actually works, and is actually humane.
I was looking through some government stats and they still approach it as a prison problem. For example, there were 29,796 drug arrests in 2010, 9,250 for heroin. Only 2,411 people receive treatment. They did have some interesting price info:
The average street price per kilogram of heroin in the year 2010 was about 4.3 million Sri Lankan rupees for locals. The average street price of heroin had increased by 43% for the local in 2010 compared to that of 2009. The price of Cannabis has increased by 40% in year 2010. The average street level price per kilogram of cannabis was 36,000 Sri Lankan rupees for locals. The average street level price of one kilogram of opium was 1,300,000 million of Sri Lankan rupees for locals. The average price of cocaine in the year 2009 was 9.0 million.
The problem with ‘fighting drugs’ is, as you can see, is that the money is too much. By cracking down on supply, you just increase prices to a point that it encourages a new crop of dealers. The incentives are all stacked the wrong way and by making drugs illegal, governments miss the achievable goal of actually reducing drug use. First you have to accept that drug use won’t be zero, and that reducing it means bringing it into your realm of control, regulating it and not letting rotating drug dealers run free.
By making drugs illegal, all that happens is that the money gets into government in other ways, through corrupt politicians and elections. Some of the more notable thugs in this government have been connected to the drug trade, and if you look at places like the Maldives, ‘leaders’ are obviously bringing it in. Even in Sri Lanka, it’s an island, there are no porous borders here, everything has to come through monitored channels. Everything is distributed through politically conscious streets. At the very least, politicians and cops know what’s going on. At the most, they are what’s going on.
Anyways, is Sri Lanka going to legalize heroin and start dispensing it at government treatment centers? Probably not soon, but we should consider it. There are already debates about legalizing kasippu, popular home brewed alcohol. I think we can start talking about a more sensible heroin policy. It’s certainly better than politicians and cops dealing heroin, and drug dealers implementing their own policies on the streets.