Medi-snippets: Rehab Authority for drug addicts | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Rehab Authority for drug addicts

3 March, 2019

President Maithripala Sirisena has reportedly announced that the government would shortly set up an authority for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and that a Cabinet paper on the matter presented by him to the Cabinet of Ministers had been approved. Until the Authority is established, an interim body had been appointed on February 13, to rehabilitate drug addicts, he noted.

Meeting the members of the Interim Authority at the Presidential Secretariat last week, the President reportedly emphasised the need to fulfil the mandate given them and advised them to use the modern methods of drug rehabilitation adopted by developed foreign countries.

He was quoted as asking them to commence their rehabilitation work in the Northern Province. The Authority is expected to work in coordination with the President’s Office, the Health Ministry, the Education Minister and the Police. This is the first time such an Authority on drug rehabilitation has been established in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, strict laws would be implemented against illicit drugs related activities in future, the President has warned, drawing attention to the importance of eradicating the illegal trade.

Cocaine increases risk of stroke

Adding a fresh perspective to the illicit drug abuse issue , the Stroke Association of Sri Lanka President and Consultant Neurologist Dr M.T. M Rifsy has reportedly warned that cocaine use increased the risk of stroke. Addressing a media discussion at the Health Promotion Bureau last week he reportedly said that not only alcohol, but the use of illicit drugs also increased the risk of stroke. The brain cells die within four minutes of a stroke, so the patient needs to be rushed to the nearest hospital without delay he was quoted as saying. According to him the prevalence of stroke in Sri Lanka was ten patients for every 1,000 people.

Guidelines to improve indoor air

The Central Environmental Authority ( CEA) will formulate a set of guidelines to improve indoor air quality, to minimise health impacts caused by air pollutants. CEA Laboratory Services Deputy Director, Hiranthi Jansz was reported to have said that the Cabinet last week approved a three year project from 2019-2021 to conduct a base study and set out guidelines to improve the indoor air quality. Health officials were quoted as saying that this is due to concerns on the way people reacted to air pollutants inside buildings, work places and houses and the harm it had on their health. The Cabinet paper was presented by President Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as Mahaveli Development and Environment Minister .

Jansz was quoted as saying that the base study would be conducted in randomly selected schools, hospitals, public buildings, office buildings and houses, island wide and would be completed in six months.

Household wood burning stoves, the use of incense sticks, poorly maintained office air conditioned environments and vehicle emissions were cited as frequent instances of indoor air pollution. Industrial Technology Institute ( ITI) sources were also quoted as saying that recent studies of human exposure to air pollutants had indicated that the levels could be from 2-5 times higher than outdoors, and that indoor air quality ( IAQ) was a growing concern as most people spent about 90% of their time indoors. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to symptoms of headaches, fatigue, inability to concentrate, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Additionally, some specific diseases, such as, asthma had also been linked to specific air contaminants and indoor dampness.

Ladies Only compartments soon

Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has promised he would shortly introduce Ladies Only compartments in trains to prevent sexual harassment of women. He said this initiative was due to take off as a pilot project on five trains plying on major routes, especially, during the rush hours. Informed sources were quoted as saying that studies had shown that over 90 percent of women were harassed while travelling by bus and train and this had left long lasting impacts on their health.