Medi-snippets: Liquor, drugs claim 70,000 lives annually in SL | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Liquor, drugs claim 70,000 lives annually in SL

10 February, 2019

Around 70,000 people die annually due to the consumption of liquor and drugs in Sri Lanka, Director General, Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, Dr Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi was quoted as saying recently. According to him, about 20 % of health expenses now go to treat such patients. He was also quoted as saying that drug addiction was a preventable disease. Citing latest surveys conducted by the Health Ministry, he noted that many schoolchildren from leading schools in Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Kandy and Negombo were becoming addicted to narcotics. Police sources reportedly have advised parents and schoolteachers to be extra vigilant about them and to immediately inform the nearest police station of any suspicious characters who sold prohibited drugs to schoolchildren outside the school gates. A stock of 15,000 pain relief tablets were found in an Amparai bound luxury bus travelling from Colombo. The Samanthurai Police Crime Bureau sources were reported to have said that the tablets illegally smuggled in 150 boxes were sold to schoolchildren in the East where drug addiction was now on the increase. Meanwhile, drug prevention programs and walks have been conducted successfully in different parts of the country. The T,B Jayah Maha Vidyalaya, Aligar MahaVidyalaya and Ihsaniya Girls’ Vidyalaya conducted a walk in Kinniya town recently with over 1,000 students participating displaying placards and shouting slogans against narcotics use.

Grade 5 Scholarship exam causes mental strain to students

The annual Grade 5 Scholarship exam giving bright students a chance to study in a popular school, exerts undue mental stress on students, robbing them of their childhood, Paediatrician Dr OMB Wijeywardana has reportedly said in a published research paper . He was quoted as telling an independent newspaper that many children around the ages 8-10 have sought treatment for headache, stomach ache and dizziness due to this. He noted that competition among students and the push by parents to excel at exams was sending them to the brink of mental stress that could lead to depression. He was quoted as saying that the brain development of children was at its peak in the first ten years of their life and slows down in the next five years, with the Grade 5 Scholarship exam being held during this slowing down period. He also reportedly noted that the exam deprived the children of play time and sports activities which could be detrimental to their physical health.

Safer three wheelers in the pipeline

Rising accidents caused mainly by motorcyclists and three wheelers have prompted the Government to add more stipulations to existing laws to make three wheelers safer for passengers. This includes compulsory fare meters and speedometers . Under the new rules three wheelers would not be able to go faster than 40 kph and carry no more than the equivalent of three adult passengers, Transport Ministry officials were reported as saying. Two children under the age of 12 will be counted as one adult and could be accompanied by two adults. Officials were also reported to have said that it will be compulsory to have a 21.5cm gap between the driver’s and the passenger’s seat. DIG ( Traffic) Ajith Rohana was quoted as saying that three wheelers which comprised 16% of all vehicles contributed significantly to the accident toll as they resorted to dangerous habits, often overloading their vehicles with five people. He further said many drivers in rural areas had no licences and hence their driving skills had never been supervised or approved by an official. Meanwhile, the All Island Three Wheel Drivers’ Union President Lalith Dharmasekera has reportedly said his organisation had campaigned strongly for increased regulation of the industry, noting that although three wheeler regulations had been drafted in the past and passed in Parliament, they had never been implemented.

CAA seizes 720 mt outdated milk powder

The Consumer Affairs Authority ( CAA) officials recently seized over 720 metric tonnes of outdated milk powder being sold in public markets in Kuliyapitiya and Kurunegala. The milk powder seized had reportedly been set aside by the Milco Company as livestock feed, officials said. But the stocks had been illegally purchased by traders who had then added them to milk powder packets and put them on sale. CAA Chief Investigation Officer Lanka Dikkumbura reportedly told the media that the suspects would be penalised severely.

Financial aid delays hit disabled residents

Nearly 4,000 residents in the Moneragala district who are disabled or suffering from various diseases have been inconvenienced as they have not yet received their monthly financial aid from the Government . They have reportedly charged that the Social Services Department had not provided them with financial aid causing them physical and mental stress. It was reported that 834 persons suffering from various diseases, 1,230 disabled persons and 2,049 elderly persons comprised the recipients. They also noted that each kidney patient was usually paid Rs 5,000 monthly while thalassaemia patients were granted Rs 3,000 monthly.

A tuberculosis patient receives Rs 750 monthly while disabled persons get Rs 3,500 each. questioned by the media on these charges, Moneragala District Secretariat Social Services Officer R.K Bandulasena reportedly said there were 876 kidney patients, 964 cancer patients , 149 thalassaemia patients, 15 tuberculosis patients and three leprosy patients. In addition there were 11,232 elderly persons over 70 years who were also entitled to financial aid. Meanwhile, Health Ministry sources have assured the public that the problem would be solved soon.

Is air pollution making us fat?

Living in smog filled cities as children can make us eat fatty foods as adults, a new study has found. Researchers say that high level of particles from power plants and exhaust systems was linked to an increased risk of eating a high trans fat diet by 34%. They also found that the increased levels made people more likely to eat dinner at fast food restaurants than at home.

While it is not clear exactly why, experts say it may be due to pollutants disrupting how our body absorbs energy from food , sending blood sugar levels plummeting and hunger rocketing. They also found that the more exposure a child had to air pollutants mainly from vehicular traffic, the more likely they are to eat a diet high in trans fat.