PANJIM, SEPT 9 — Bina Ramani, Pooja Bhatt, Salman Khan, Koena Mitra to name just a few. Where do they go to party during their spare time – Goa. And if such celebrities, which include designers, models, actors, all descend on Goa to have a good time, then do not be surprised that the bad things of life are not far behind.
It is well-known that Goa has become a hub for designer drugs of all kinds. However, alarm has been raised following the arrest a few months ago of an Italian national at Dabolim airport, with suitcases containing thousands of ecstasy tablets. Then, the police claimed the ecstasy pills were only being sent through Goa, and were smuggled from outside. But informed sources now say it is possible that the ecstasy tablets were manufactured in Goa itself, and were being exported from here.
It is a known fact, locally, nationally and internationally that Goa has earned a reputation of being a hub for illicit drugs for decades with narcotic drugs like charas, ganja, opium and its derivatives morphine and heroin and psychedelic drugs like LSD and mescaline, easily available. But what is alarming the police is that a new generation of drug users who now come to Goa, for its famous trance parties, where designer drugs like ecstasy are easily available for patrons.
One of the most popular designer drugs at the coastal party scene is ecstasy, known as a club drug because of the high energy that the drug provides, which each pill costing Rs 800. A person who takes ecstasy can dance non-stop for hours, makes people friendly, loosens inhibitions, induces feelings of love and empathy and makes for great bonding between couples or larger groups. But what has alerted the authorities is that these ecstasy tablets are manufactured in illegal laboratories with little safety controls and inferior ingredients and equipment, across the border.
Another favourite, banned, designer drugs, that is widely used in Europe, America, is Ketamine which is easily available over the counter in Goan pharmacies. Available as an injectible liquid, it is heated to produce a powder which is then sniffed. Pharmacies in the coastal belt sell more ketamine than any other drug. Ironically, sources allege that one of the most notorious Goan pedlars of designers drugs like ecstasy and LSD, Alan, originally from Tivim, is residing opposite the Kripa Foundation on Vagator hill, where he has daily parties with loud rave music.
While designer drugs such as Ecstasy are still the favourite among recreational drug users, or abusers, police officials are watching with alarm the wide spread use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)among the youth. In addition recreational drug users in Goa are also catching up on other synthetic drugs such as benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, anti-histamines and codeine-based cough syrups.
And alarm bells are ringing with more and more teenagers who are using these drugs without knowing the consequences. Said a police officials, “some teenagers do it to show off, it then becomes a habit and then its too late. The damage to the body has been done."