India is now a supplier of 'poor man's heroin'
Mumbai: The recent arrest of three people for smuggling drugs abroad via the Internet has brought to light a major international racket, with India at its epicentre. Many controlled drugs are being smuggled out of the country to North America and Europe, where the drugs are either abused or misused.
The arrested accused, Ram Patel, 26, Venkatesh Rao, 39, and Imran Khan, 29, all claim to have had no knowledge of the abuse of these drugs in foreign countries. The trio got in touch with buyers through social networking sites on the Internet, and later sent the consignments through courier. Officials from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) are trying to verify the computer records of the accused to check the volume of drugs smuggled out of the country till now.
The racket first came to light nearly two months ago when one person was arrested in possession of 2,000 tablets of oxycodone. The drug is illegally manufactured in India, or illegally procured and smuggled abroad.
Drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone are in great demand in America and Europe. Controlled drugs in India, they are permitted to be used for medicinal or pharmaceutical purposes. These were earlier supplied to America via Mexico, Columbia and other South American countries, but the latest detection has revealed that India has now emerged as a major supplier of these drugs.
Oxycodon and hydrocodone are derivatives of thebane, from the heroin family of drugs. It is believed that the consumption of these drugs gives a similar effect to that experienced after consuming heroin.
Zonal director Yashodhan Wanage of the NCB, Mumbai, said, "The demand for oxycodone and hydrocodone is very high in countries like America as it is very cheap as compared to heroin. One would easily get a tablet of these two drugs for $6 to $7, and therefore it is also called the 'poor man's heroin' in the drug world."
Patel, Rao and Khan also smuggled out other drugs or psychotropic substances, used either as precursors to manufacture synthetic drugs or abused, in the guise of pharmaceuticals. These include alprazolam, byzepam, phentermine (prescribed for weight loss but misused) and upenorfine. Abroad, these drugs fetch 10 times their price in India.
Divyesh Singh / DNA
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 0:14 IST