HYDERABAD: As the Hyderabad police and Excise department officials are cracking down on drug dealers and ganja peddlers in the city, several people who are addicted to drugs are now turning to whiteners and paint thinners. These substances are cheaper than ganja and easily available in the market.
Though whitener bottles had been banned years ago, it is available in the form of a pen which is available in stationeries and other stores for `20. Several daily wagers are addicted to these substances and now ganja addicts are using it as a substitute.
Explaining the side-effects of these substances, Dr Mohd Siddiqui of Osmania General Hospital says that whiteners contain chemicals like naphtha and toluene which straight away affects the brain and slows down the neuron system by increasing inhibitory neurotransmitters.
The consumer feels sleepy. Labourers and homeless use it to numb themselves to their pain and get some relief after working for long hours. After finishing work, the consumers buy a whitener pen or a thinner, pour the liquid on a handkerchief and inhale the fumes.Over a period of time, whitener addicts can face various ailments such as multiple organ failure, lung infection and cancer, says Dr Siddiqui.
These addicts are also likely to become criminals, say experts. For example, a beggar who was involved in dual murder at Nampally last week, is addicted to whitener, according to Habeebnagar police. An Excise official of Medchal Malkajgiri district says shop owners are not allowed to sell whiteners. However, health experts say there is evidence to the contrary because several addicts are still getting access to the substance.
From one poison to another
While whiteners and paint thinners are generally used by daily wage labourers and the homeless, ganja addicts, who are unable to gain access to their suppliers are also using these products. These substances are extremely harmful and can lead to multi-organ failure, warn doctors