BENGALURU: Multi-substance abuse is the newest fad among those hooked on to drugs in the city. It is putting their lives at risk, and posing an enormous challenge to de-addiction centres.
More than 50 per cent of recent hauls by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) involve multliple drugs.
“During raids in the past few months, we have seized LSD crystals — a mixture of MDMA and mephedrone and ganja (cannabis) — meant for supply to parties. Half the addicts we caught were abusing more than one drug,” said Sunil Kumar Sinha, zonal director, NCB.
The use of synthetic drugs, as compared to heroine and cocaine, has shot up as they are cheaper and easier to transport.
“From one gram of LSD crystal, a trafficker can make about 30,000 doses by putting it in sugar cubes and blotting paper for oral consumption,” he said.
The addiction is so strong that youth evolve from consumers to peddlers so that they can enjoy constant access to the drugs.
Students are internet-savvy and exploit various sites to market the drugs. The NCB finds itself helpless to act against groups advertising drugs through social media sites such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
The damage these drugs cause can be permanent. The recovery is long and arduous, taking up to eight years for the effects to wear off. “The addict goes through depression and gets suicidal,” Sinha said.
Sick chemical units in Hyderabad, Karnataka and Maharashtra, engaged in the manufacture of precursor chemicals, have emerged as clandestine laboratories for manufacturing amphetamine-type stimulants. Amphetamine is a psycho-stimulant drug, abused as a narcotic. Rich drug lords take on lease sick pharmaceutical units by claiming interest in reviving them. They then use the infrastructure for mass production of narcotics.
This is a new trend, and it is difficult to pin down such factories, Sinha said. NCB data show only three synthetic chemical hauls in 2014, but in 2015 the number has doubled, and the value of the haul had gone up manifold.