Substance use of heroin and cocaine has increased substantially over the last few years in Jaffna. These addictive substances cause considerable threats for public health and negative impact on the effective functioning of society. It is also exceedingly worrying that these addictive behaviors are seen widely from all walks of life, resulting in many of these folks being imprisoned for illegal possession and usage. In many instances, parents, relatives, and teachers are unable to influence these behaviors.

Rehabilitation programs for drug addiction are complex and we feel that it is important to offer, wherever possible. With this in mind, Manitha Neyam Trust has sponsored a Health Promotion and Wellbeing program for the 450 young prisoners who are currently serving sentences at the Jaffna Prison and for some of the unfortunate juvenile inmates, as young as 12 years old, at the Child Probation Centre in Atchuvely.

The program includes daily activities with both individual and group discussions on health promotion, with the active participation of prisoners, the welfare officers in the prison, and teachers at the Child Probation Center. This is also supported by the Jaffna Magistrate, Judicial Medical Officers, relevant clinicians and the Prison and Probation Services. Since the project also involves the active participation of young volunteers, many of whom are recent graduates of psychology, this program plays an additional role in developing future mental health and wellness specialists within our society.

We thank our donors for their continued support to fund programs such as these, and will continue to relay updates in the coming months.