The young man from Colombia was shocked. Here he was in Sri Lanka which he was told was a paradiseisle with all the good things that nature had to offer - but he did not count cocaine and marijuana into the list of good things. But about half an hour after he had entered the nightclub of the five star hotel he was offered drugs by a Sri Lankan youth. "I was shocked. They were young girls and boys and the last thing I expected was to find
drugs in this otherwise happy set up," said the Colombian model. "I was so scared because I have never taken drugs in all my life as I know what drugs can do. I was frightened for the youth," said the Colombian.
"It is easy to get drugs in any of the top nightclubs," said a student who frequents these nightclubs. "Ecstasy cost Rs.1500 but cocaine and heroin cost much more," she said. She was referring to two nightclubs in the heart of Colombo. "It is easy to get any kind of drug in the city of Colombo and how fast you can get it, depends on who you know," she explained.
Not only is ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana (grass) around in the nightclubs in the city, but heroin too is freely available say youth who are in and out of these nightclubs.
"We have found ecstasy in many nightclubs, but heroin is not for night life," explained investigating officer, Police Narcotics Bureau, Chief Inspector Buddhika Balachandra.
"Few people who take heroin truly know the effect it can have on their lives. The first week may be fun but thereafter comes a time when the user cannot eat, drink or live without it. It does not help to improve night life in nightclubs," explained Balachandra.
But Balachandra went on to say that ecstasy and cocaine may be doing the rounds in the nightclubs in Colombo. "The people who frequent these night clubs are men and women who spend upto Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000 a day. We consider them to be the cream of society and we are not in a position to tag them until they become a threat to society."
"We are more alert since last week about the presence of drugs in the nightclubs and we have in the past conducted raids and found ecstasy," said Balachandra.
The police said that the narcotic users are small time users from the middle and low income groups, but they are trying to maintain a hawk eye on peddlers.
Retired DIG H.M.G.B Kotakadeniya who worked as senior DIG in charge of crimes at police headquarters for four years speaking out on the grave dangers of using narcotic drugs said that though statistics may say that there were 50,000 users four years ago, today the figure is over 500,000 users. "This is because peddlers are constantly on the look out for new users. Drugs are brought to construction sites and offered to masons and workers. The money is collected at the end of the month. These construction workers may find that with the first few dosages they can work without food and drink for long hours. But later on the drugs eventually take them down," said Kotakadeniya.
He said that the greatest tragedy of this country is that drug traffickers are escorted by some politicians. "Drugs are brought in the vehicles of some politicians - from various parts of the country and the politicians are paid upto Rs. 1 million for the safe ride," pointed out the former DIG of Crimes.
"Drugs are found everywhere today - in brothels, in street corners, casinos and clubs. They are brought from South India and Pakistan through the airport and also via speed boats and trawlers," he said.
The former DIG crimes also observed that a great deal of in-fighting in the underworld is because of territory problems. "Each gang has a drug territory and a sale demarcation and when either party exceeds territory killings take place," he said.
He called on the police to take stern action. "Nightclubs which are kept open till the wee hours of the morning ought to close at midnight. Ecstasy is a great danger that we all see and choose not to see - it gives these girls and boys a feeling of 'floating around'. It is also a sex stimulant and thus leads to a great deal of illicit sex among the youth - besides all these happenings can lead to violence and death as the night progresses," pointed out the former police officer. .
Ecstasy users say that the drug gives them the energy and the boost to go on dancing, working or singing or whatever they want to do for unusually long hours. "It keeps one going longer than it is humanly possible," said a young girl.