The official journal of
EUROPAD - European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association
WFTOD - World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
Editor: Icro Maremmani, MD - Pisa, Italy, EU
Associate Editors:
Thomas Clausen, MD - Oslo, Norway
Pier Paolo Pani, MD - Cagliari, Italy, EU
Marta Torrens, MD - Barcelona, Spain, EU
Statistical Editor:
Mario Miccoli, PhD - Pisa, Italy, EU

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Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems: 2024, 26, 27

Pattern of illicit drug use in Sri Lanka; A detailed analysis from a country of transient point for drug trafficking

Nuwan Darshana, Champa Wijesinghe, and Vijitha De Silva

Digital Object Identifier:

Summary: Background. Sri Lanka is a transient point for drug trafficking due to its unique geographical location, and illicit drug use has become a significant public health problem. This study was conducted to analyse the pattern of illegal drug use among a sample of male illicit drug users in Sri Lanka. Methods. Institutional-based research was conducted among a sample of 431 male illicit drug users. The pattern of drug use was assessed under types, frequency and duration of illicit drug use, information related to continuing drug use behaviour and information related to attempts at treatments and rehabilitation. Results. The majority (89.4%) of the sample were addicted to heroin. Interestingly, the majority of drug users were hard (93.2%), frequent (90.4%) and solitary (99.5%) drug users. Nearly half (51.2%) were early drug users, while escapist drug use was observed among a minority of the sample (3.8%). Cannabis was identified as the gateway drug for 81% of drug users. Polydrug use was reported among 47.1%, while injecting drugs was reported by 23.4%. Most (80.7%) had experienced withdrawal symptoms and drug overdose (64.3%). Nearly 40% had been previously rehabilitated. Self-admission for rehabilitation was reported among 33.4% of drug users. Conclusions. Patterns of illicit drug use in Sri Lanka vary across ethno-religious communities and socio-economic and cultural groups. It shared global heterogeneity throughout the world and geographical homogeneity within the region and the country. These findings should be considered while planning and implementing prevention and harm reduction programs for drug addiction.

Keywords: Patterns; illicit drug use; prevention, Sri Lanka


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