India is the largest producer of opium in South Asia with an estimated 3.1 million opiate users in the country. Half of the opiate users in India consume synthetic opiates.
The findings were part of the annual report of International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) released here on Tuesday. The total quantity of pure heroin annually consumed is 17 tonnes of which eight tonnes are smuggled from Afghanistan and the remaining nine tonnes are produced locally.
“South Asia is experiencing increasing problems with abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Many of these substances are obtained through pharmacies that don’t respect prescription requirements or through illegally operating Internet pharmacies”, the report said
According to the report released by INCB, an independent monitoring body for implementation of the United Nations International drug control conventions, drug abuse “by injection” is rising in South Asia, contributing to an increase in HIV and hepatitis infection rates.
In India, it said, average annual seizures is around one tonne of heroin which is trafficked from India via land routes, air, maritime and via postal couriers.
Misuse of prescription drugs in South Asia refers to only narcotic and psychotropic pharmaceuticals. They are easily available and affordable and used as a substitute for illegal drug use. In India, they are Buprenophine, Pentazaocine and sedatives, the report said.
New Delhi, Feb 28, 2012, DHNS:
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