Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 15
The Narcotics Control Bureau has unearthed five rings allegedly diverting pseudoephedrine from pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh for making party drugs. In one such case, the son of a retired high-ranking Customs officer has been arrested.
Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical used in manufacture of cough and cold medicines and can also be used to illicitly produce synthetic drugs such as amphetamine type stimulants (ATS).
ATS encompasses some of the well-known drugs such as crystal meth, ecstasy and methamphetamine, commonly known as “meth” and “speed”. These drugs can induce euphoria and hallucinations in a person.
The NCB arrested the son of a retired Customs officer from Dehradun and was allegedly involved in illegally diverting pseudoephedrine from Dehradun and Chandigarh for manufacturing synthetic drugs. Several pseudoephedrine manufacturing units are based in Dehradun.
On Wednesday, the NCB arrested a US woman national in a similar case. She was a director of a pseudoephedrine manufacturing unit called Daffohills Private Lab Limited in Dehradun.
“She was diverting pseudoephedrine, which was being sent to the North-East and smuggled into Myanmar, where it was converted into methamphetamine and sent to other South Asian countries,” a source said.
Synthetic drugs are rising in demand in India as compared to natural drugs such as heroin and cocaine, because they are cheaper. A new synthetic drug called mephedrone is being used in Mumbai and Delhi under the name of “meow meow”, say sources in the NCB.
Mephedrone is a new “psychoactive substance”, meaning it will give the same effect as narcotics and psychotropic substances and it has no legal use. “It works like ecstacy,” said a source, adding it has been banned in most European Union member states. Sources added China was the biggest manufacturer of mephedrone, where it was used as a fertiliser.
The United Nations has two lists of narcotics and psychotropic substances, but the new psychoactive substances, including mephedrone, are not on these lists. If mephedrone is placed in the two lists then it will be banned by India, because India is a signatory to the two lists, said sources.
Mephedrone and 388 other new psychoactive substances are also not listed under the NDPS Act, hence no action or seizures can be made by the Indian authorities.
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