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President Maithripala Sirisena said that the government will never hesitate to take tough action against politicians who have links with the drug business and smuggling.

"Politicians should be exemplary characters and therefore the government strongly believes that politicians should not have links with the drug business. The government will take tough action against such politicians without considering their states or political party," the President stressed.

The President was speaking at an awareness programme on narcotic prevention at the Ja-Ela Urban Council grounds yesterday.

Parallel to the event, which was held under the theme Narcotics Free Country (Mathin Thora Ratak) a narcotic prevention month was declared from yesterday until August 8 by the President. The main functions of the month will be enlightening the people about the harmful effects of narcotics.

The President addressing the gathering said the revenue generated from alcohol and tobacco is helpful to the finance ministry when preparing annual budget in accordance with the current practice. But from 2020onwards, the revenue from alcohol and tobacco will not be considered when preparing the budget.

President Sirisena said that a systematic approach is needed to wipe out the drug menace from the country since it causes a huge drawback in many sectors including health, economic, internal peace of a family and many more. Accordingly, the government has planned a national programme on drug prevention and it will be implemented in line with yesterday's event.

Under this programme, religious leaders will play a pivotal role in drug prevention. "Moreover, every government and private institution will actively take part in this exercise since it is a national task" the President said.

The President noted that it has been revealed that officers of two government institutions have been assisting the drug smuggling network.

The President further added that just having awareness programmes on drug prevention are not enough to free the country from the drug menace.

"Therefore, a more systematic and result oriented mechanism on drug prevention should be implemented," he said.

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