Illicit drug abuse in Sri Lanka shows clear signs of worsening

Banyan News Reporters

Colombo, Sri LankaBanyan News Reporters learns that officials investigating wacky behaviour in a large number of Sri Lankans since May this year have uncovered disturbing evidence, indicating that a significant majority of the population have been acting under the influence of illicit drugs for many years.

BNR spoke to Mr Upul Amarakoon, a community intervention officer working for the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) who had extensive experience in dealing with drug users. “To be honest, I thought I noticed peculiar behavioural patterns in the community for a while now!” he says. “I can’t exactly say for sure when I started, but what actually made me notice that something was wrong is the behaviour of foreigners who visited Sri Lanka”.

For many years, officials from International Humanitarian Organisations have shown distinct symptoms of drug use after visiting Sri Lanka that they had not shown during or after their visits to other conflict areas in the world such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Amarakoon points out that “Change in overall attitude and personality, excessive talkativeness, paranoia and tantrums, chronic dishonesty, difficulty in paying attention and forgetfulness are all classic symptoms of substance abuse.

The spread and intensity of peculiar behaviour was even more apparent among Sri Lankans and have caught the attention of the whole world in recent years. The lame public sector and corrupt politicians such as Mervyn Silva have for decades stood out as alarm calls about a deep-rooted social issue. However, the well known Sri Lankan terrorist group led by Velupillai Prabhakaran were notorious for their drug smuggling operations throughout and South and Southeast Asia and many saw them as the root cause of the problem and all efforts to stem the substance abuse crisis in the country were focussed on eradicating terrorism.

“Like many others, I expected the problem to ease once the LTTE has been eradicated” admits Amarakoon who was disturbed by the fact that the symptoms became even more acute after the war. Towards the latter stages of the war, Mr Amarakoon recalls stumbling on a group of people who were trying to get a fix by smoking an effigy of David Milliband in front of the British high commission. “I thought it was a sign that with the demise of the LTTE, they were running out of other forms of narcotics, but later events have shown than this was not the case”.

Amarakoon points out that he recognised that the problem had penetrated deep into the social fabric of the country when the health minister blamed the Dengue epidemic on Mini Skirts and the army commander wanted to recruit another one hundred thousand soldiers after the war had ended! But experts realised the problem was really gotten out of control when the Buddhist monks started calling the president various names. “I mean, I have worked for many years with drug addicts and I know how doped you must get to come up with a names like “Vishva Keerthi Sri Thri Sinhaladheeshwara” and “Sri Lanka Rajawansa Vibooshana Dharmadeepa Chakravarthi”, Amarakoon whispered.

The unfolding events found investigators helplessly looking for explanations when a chance discovery by customs officials unravelled smugglers using potatoes as their medium. Samples tested on suspicion from lunch packets of government officials, food offerings at temples, and buffets at army headquarters contained devilled potatoes, potato curry, mashed potatoes and potato balls contained heavy doses of illicit, brain-numbing and fattening chemicals.

Mr. Amarakoon however is not satisfied with the immediate conclusions of these tests and urges the public to be careful about the kinds of food and thoughts they consume. “If you take the history of Sri Lanka”, he points out, “there is evidence that potatoes were not always the preferred way of doping people”.

It’s true. Sri Lankans have been doped before by bread (at Rs 3.50) and free rice.

  • http://javajones.wordpress.com Java Jones

    I have a friend who fed his pet monkeys some potatoes (had to be some of THOSE) and damned if they didn’t start ‘speaking’! It was thought to be gibberish – until I read your piece and recognized some of those unpronounceable words mentioned in the piece.

    Down with drug-tainted potatoes! In fact, banning ALL potatoes will be one SURE way of fighting this narcotic menace!!

  • http://purearyan.org Lakshmanan Guna Shaykar

    THE POTATO PERIL – the cause of Hallucinating Lanka:
    The Secret behind the Potato Peril is that potatoes were not indigenous to Sri Lanka. Potatoes were introduced to our beloved Dharma Dveepa only by the hated European colonialists in the 16th Century when they invaded our land forced our country people of the time to grow various cash crops that originated in foreign soil. In fact that is why the British introduced the term ‘night soil’ to our urban administrative regime.

    I fervently believe (as a True Believer of the Dharma) that what happened was that the internal chemistry of the Potato underwent a malignant transmogrification (what is scientifically termed the ‘double photosynthesis causa soil nocturna’) which resulted in dangerously high levels of hallucinogens becoming part of the Sri Lankan Potato. Thus all those Genuine HillCountry Citizens (i.e. the true Kandyans, born and bred in the Kande Uda Rata), due to their regular consumption of Potato for generations, especially after the Great Treaty of 1815, have been imbibing very high levels of hallucinogens. Otherwise how could some of these Kandyans mixed up their caste lineage with the underground class war of the Soviet KGB?

  • Introduced Nut

    @Lakshmanan Guna Shaykar,

    It is a bit hazardous to take this indigenous vs. introduced/foreign/alien division too far. Where plants are concerned, most of what we use daily or regularly have all come from ‘foreign’ lands, and did not originate in our own island, despite its high levels of biodiversity.

    Consider these few examples:

    Rice (Oryza sativa) – native to Indian subcontinent, probably Indus valley or Gangetic Plains.

    Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera) – experts are still arguing if it originated in the Ganges delta in the Indian subcontinent or in northwestern South America.

    Tea (Camellia sinensis) – The Chinese have consumed tea for thousands of years, but it was introduced to our island by the British less than 200 years ago.

    Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) originated in South America, in the Amazon forest. It was the British who brought the first rubber seeds to Ceylon in the late 19th century.

    I can go on, but you get the idea. Of the spices that we Sri Lankans are so fond of, only Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is native to Sri Lanka. All others have come from different continents of the world.

    So who or what are you calling indigenous?

  • http://www.taurus19lk.blogspot.com/ Sigma

    What a relief, I was starting to get a little worried there – it has been bothering me just why people were acting so and frankly the conclusion I had come to was that we turned into a nation of selfish ,self serving, morally insensitive, unprincipled, jaded, brown nosed hypocrites with an attention span of just two weeks.

    At least now we know what it is and the solution is simple too – JUST SAY NO

  • http://purearyan.org Lakshmanan Guna Shaykar

    Ah! “Indegenous”!!

    Indigene? Indigo? Indica? Indian? Remember not all Indians are Bad Indians. I learnt that watching John Wayne in ‘Stage Coach’.

    But to get back to “indigenous” and the introduced by ‘Nut’, I must confess my ignorance about the absolute or perfect ‘indigenous’. I don’t know! At least ‘Night Soil’ MUST be ‘indigenous’, no?

    And what about ‘sativa’? Hmm… ‘sativa’…SATIVA. I am beginning to salivate.

    But INSIST, that the soil and the climes DO COUNT. I think that the Sri Lankan climate and soil (night soil also helps) must have transmogrified our Potatoes as well as all Sativas grown here. In fact certain sativas grown here are not as good as sativas grown elsewhere. Please advise.

  • http://purearyan.org Lakshmanan Guna Shaykar

    By the way, I consume far more Sativa and than Potato. So it can’t be the Potato!

    So, what IS wrong with me?? Can someone advise?

  • President Bean

    DON’T WALK ON THE GRASS!
    …smoke it!

  • smoulderingjin

    Ah, everything is made crystal clear now. It is the potato menace. We are being blighted by a mutant potato plague.

    What can we do to save ourselves, and the land, from being totally demolished by the plague. The evidence that Java Jones’ friends’ Monkeys started spouting gibberish indicates that the spuds are extremely dangerous. What about the bathala and mangnokka? And the kiri ala? Would be have to ban those as well. Whatever you might say this is a nation that is well able to get rid of anything it doesn’t want – from the LTTE, to journalists, to dissenters or astrologers for that matter. Banning some ordinary ala jaathi should’t be too difficult.

    I was a bit worried as to whether I have been infected by the gibberish inducing root but then I realised that I haven’t as I do not spout the gibberish mentioned above. I suspect that we might have to quarantine and even isolate those who show evidence of the gibberish, together with any monkeys that have any indication of the ailment.

    Thanks to the BNR for illuminating to us the “root” of our problem.

    I suppose smoking the grass and not walking on it might help eleviate any tendency to succumb to the Root menace that produces gibberish. Grass is better than the spud anyday obviously.

  • Realist

    At last we have the truth from Mr Abeykoon. It must be drugs alright for otherwise how could we account for the strange behavior of our VIPS. Yes even the Buddhist monks have unfortunattely been affected. How could they know that the potatoe curry they consumed was affected by potatoes. I beleive the potatoes were from Pakistan. But didnt Pakistan help us in the war against terror.Perhaps our worthies in the Armed Forces also consumed them for how else could they become such ruthless maniacs as to kill people who sought to surrender