• world-mapSri Lanka to reform rather than imprison drug offenders.
  • Thai drug dealers target children with Meth disguised as candy.
  • UK use of ADHD drugs rises by half in six years.
  • US could slash prison terms for drug dealers in sweeping review.

South Asia – Sri Lanka to Reform Drug Offenders, Not Imprison.

The Sri Lankan government has taken advice from pressure groups and health experts to rehabilitate drug addicts instead of imprisoning them. The proposal was followed by plans to introduce rehabilitation service centres specifically for this purpose.

Recognising that rising drug addiction in the country is a real problem, especially with young people in the region, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms has backed plans for the introduction of rehabilitation centres to help tackle the problem.

According to Sri Lankan government statistics 78 per cent of imprisonments in 2011 were of drug users. The number of imprisonments due to drug addiction reached 10,568 in 2011 while 6,165 people had been imprisoned due to the same offence for the second time and 2,073 for more than two occasions.

Tackling the nations growing drug problem requires recognition that drug addiction is a medical problem not a criminal one. Investment in rehabilitation programmes may be one way to reduce drug addiction in Sri Lanka.

Asia – Thai Meth Dealers Target Children with Candy-like Pills.

Pills coming in a variety of colours and flavours including strawberry and chocolate to disguise the taste of bitter drugs inside have been on sale in Thailand. In an investigative report published in the Guardian newspaper the shocking trend was revealed.

The disguised meth pills, called ‘yaba’ (which translates as crazy medicine), are a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine. Yaba tablets are small enough to fit into a straw and are generally swallowed, or crushed into powder and snorted, smoked or injected.

This drug has long been on sale in clubs and streets in Thailand but producers of yaba are now targeting children to sell the pills through Facebook, according to Thai authorities. The effects of the chemical on a child’s brain may have much more significant damage than in adult users, Thai health officers are warning.

As the drug has gained popularity over the years, so has its potency – increasing in its methamphetamine concentration from 20% to as much as 95% for yaba’s more pure, crystalline form, “ice”.

Europe – Use of ADHD Drugs in UK rises by Half in only Six Years.

The number of drugs diagnosed to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) has risen by 50% in the last six years. Prescriptions for drugs such a Ritalin, have been steadily increasing according to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual report on controlled drugs.

In 2007, UK GP’s wrote around 400,000 prescriptions for similar medication, by 2012 the amount of prescription has increased to around 600,000, an increase of fifty per cent. Officials at the watchdog have warned that over-prescription of the drug is dangerous and have called for GP’s to exercise care in diagnosing these drugs as prescriptions.

These drugs are a targeted at students who cant concentrate and help fight fatigue but the effect of taking this medication is not always a guaranteed fix and can cause problems in some children. Parents should exercise caution before allowing their children to undertake any prolonged exposure to medication.

In the last year alone prescriptions of this kind has increased by 11% between 2011 and 2012 in the UK, highlighting the growing trend.

United States – US could slash prison terms for drug dealers in sweeping review.

Prison sentences for federally convicted drug dealers in the United States could be reduced under new measures being considered by the Attorney General.

The US Sentencing Commission, the independent government agency responsible for setting guidelines for judges, will meet in Washington to consider amending the “drug quantity table” – the grid that determines prison lengths for dozens of different categories of offence.

Currently it recommends that a first-time dealer caught with more than 30kg of heroin, 150kg of cocaine, 8.4kg of crack cocaine or 1.5kg of pure methamphetamine can face between 19 and 24 years in federal prison with no parole.

Measures to reduce the sentencing is being considered and could b introduced in the coming weeks to tackle America’s infamous ‘war on drugs’.

That’s the major world news this week in drugs, alcohol, addiction and recovery.

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