2. Project description (background and justification)
[NOTE: The following details were written at the commencement of this project in 1999 when the situation, as described, prevailed.]
The estimated number of heroin users in Sri Lanka is 40,000, most of them in the age group of 20 to 35 years, males, and from urban areas. High-risk groups in the country include manual labourers, street vendors, taxi drivers, commercial sex workers and tourist industry workers in Colombo. Approximately half of the total number of prison inmates (18,000) are drug abusers. Treatment activities are carried out by the National Dangerous Drug Control Board (NDDCB), NGOs, and, to some extent, by the health sector.
Past NDDCB activities in the field of demand reduction carried out with the support of UNDCP
includes institution building within NDDCB itself, which has established a capacity to implement demand reduction activities including a drug abuse monitoring system; prevention activities including the establishment of an outreach team; inpatient treatment centres; a pilot prison quality assurance scheme for treatment activities; and a pilot prison diversion scheme. Areas of activities previously supported by UNDP and UNDCP are now funded from the Government's own budget. However, there are a number of areas where there is a need to consolidate and strengthen the present activities and programmes in order to enable the Government to capitalize optimally on the achievements made so far. These areas include the field of data collection where more quantitative and qualitative data are required. Moreover, the collected data need to be analyzed and the results fed back into the prevention and treatment sector.
The NDDCB and the non-governmental sector have been involved in a vast array of activities in the field of prevention. However, there is no provision of prevention activities specifically targeted at the high-risk groups mentioned above.
NDDCB has developed, with UNDCP assistance, a pilot quality assurance programme in the four NDDCB-managed treatment centres. This programme would need to be monitored so as to gauge its impact on the delivery of treatment, enhanced and expanded to cover both governmental and non-governmental inpatient treatment centres to allow the comparison of different treatment methodologies. NDDCB has also developed pilot prison diversion schemes in three prisons in the country. Under these schemes, participating drug abusers are separated from other types of inmates. Participation of prisoners in the scheme is counted as good behavior and may lead to a reduction in the sentence. The pilot prison diversion schemes currently involve 300-400 prisoners. The schemes would need to be expanded and institutionalized to benefit an increased number of prisoners.
This project intends to meet the needs for strengthening the above mentioned demand reduction programmes of the Government of Sri Lanka. Moreover, the project aims to utilize some of the outputs such as the "prison diversion scheme" and "quality assurance programme" as model approaches to be replicated or expanded in other countries of the subregion. The objectives and activities proposed under this project are fully in line with the long-term objectives of the Masterplan for Drug Control in Sri Lanka.
3. Immediate objectives, related outputs and activities
The immediate objective of the project is to strengthen selected programmes in demand reduction data collection, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in Sri Lanka. The Drug Abuse Monitoring System (DAMS) will be expanded to include 26 general hospitals at the district level, prison system, out-reach and drop-in centres. An international specialist will be recruited to modify the existing emergency and outpatient hospital record system. On this basis, a national specialist will develop the curriculum and materials to train medical personnel in the use of the system. A series of training workshops will be organized. The DAMS will also receive monthly reports from the Department of Statistics of the Department of Prisons in Colombo. To this end, the Department of Statistics of the Department of Prisons in Colombo will be provided with a computer with relevant software to computerize the existing manual database. To improve the provision of qualitative data to the DAMS, an international specialist will provide training to the outreach team and to the staff of the drop-in centres to be established under the project. Training will also be provided to DAMS staff in the utilization of the qualitative analysis software package NUD*IST. To improve the outreach of preventive activities to high-risk groups in the country, five drop-in centres will be established in Colombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle and Kurunegala. The centres will be physically close to locations where the target high-risk groups live or work. They will constitute both a base for preventive outreach activities targeting the high-risk groups and an open centre for the provision of information. To improve the quality of treatment, the project will support the expansion and enhancement of the quality assurance programme with up to four NGO-run treatment centres. To expand the provision of treatment and rehabilitation to drug abusers in legal custody, the project will expand the activities under the three prison diversion schemes so that at least twice the number of prisoners will have access to them. Furthermore, a subregional workshop will be held to share the experiences gained under this national project.
4. Counterpart, institutional setting and implementation arrangements
The project will be executed by WHO and implemented by the NDDCB. WHO will provide the necessary technical and administrative support, and closely monitor the implementation of the project. The NDDCB will implement the project through the Project Office, headed by a National Project Director. The Project Office will be manned from the regular staff of the NDDCB. The National Project Director will be responsible for the following: the implementation, administration and monitoring of all components of the project; and facilitation of the smooth operation of the project within the national framework of drug abuse control. The NDDCB at its monthly board meetings will monitor project activities against its overall objectives, and facilitate the smooth functioning of the project. Both UNDCP Regional Office for South Asia and UNDCP Headquarters will monitor the project on the basis of reporting from WHO and of visits on the occasion of Tripartite Review meetings. UNDCP Headquarters, Demand Reduction Section will be consulted with regard to the identification and technical clearance of the international consultants to be recruited under the project.
 The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (formerly called the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention) was created in 1997, combining the United Nations International Drug Control Programme and the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention.