New Psychoactive Drugs Clear and Present Danger
KOZHIKODE:It has been confirmed that a slew of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) have entered Kerala and are in active use in rave parties and celebrity nights involving high-profile socialites
from various walks of life. With this, the cocaine party bust in Kochi is panning out to be nothing more than the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
The NACEN (National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics) warns that NPS, also going by the labels of ‘date rape drugs’, ‘predatory drugs’ and ‘club drugs’, are also used to make sexual advances against young girls or even for robbery. NPS such as Rohypnol will take a person who consumes it to a state of ‘temporary amnesia’ for hours. He will act as a slave to another person, whom he can never identify for a limited period of time. Speaking to Express, G Sreekumar Menon, director general of the NACEN, said, “As per information available, the use of Rohypnol is rampant in rave parties in Goa and Mumbai and other metro cities. Such parties are understood to be secretly taking place in Kochi as well.”
The new danger is that drugs which till recently were used only by high-profile users are now percolating down the class hierarchy.
Any item coming under the NPS head is cheaper than the known illegal drugs but gives a longer -lasting high.
“Rohypnol is colourless, odourless and tasteless. You cannot detect it when it’s mixed with drinks or juices. A kind of mind-altering substance, it directly affects your discretionary power. Like a slave, you will do whatever you are asked to. You will even go to the ATM and withdraw all your savings and give them to that person. It can be used for making sexual advances on young girls,” Menon said.
'Police Yet to Detect NPS Use in Parties'
The flip side of the pace at which NPS is spreading its tentacles in the state is the measures taken by the state government to throttle the availability of liquor through partial ban and frequent jacking up of price. It is feared that many youngsters of Kerala turned to drugs like rohypnol during recent months when bars began to close down and they could not be bothered to stand in long queues in front of beverage corporation outlets.
“The chemical and molecular structures of these drugs are tampered with in such a way that they don’t fall under the ambit of the drugs notified under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
“Even if our borders were not porous, most NPS are easily transportable and hard to detect. And once they are physically available at a certain location, their use is far from easy to regulate,” he added.
As per data available from the United Nations, there are 388 NPS in the market across the globe which could be identified. Besides, at least five new psycho active substances are released into the market every month about which the government is not even aware of. Though the use is rampant, only a few NPS have so far been detected in India.
“By and large, it is the youth, working in high pressure environment, with unrealistic deadlines, who are most prone to addiction of NPS.
“And as has been happening in the case of more traditional drugs like cocaine and heroin, those who are already hooked are only happy to invite unsuspecting youngsters to join their ‘elite’ club,” said Menon.
“The police are yet to detect the use of NPS in parties here. In fact, we are hearing about such types of chemicals for the first time. Since it does not fall under the ambit of NDPS Act, it cannot be considered illegal as well. However, police will be on high alert to prevent such practices,” said P K Raju, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Narcotic Cell, Kozhikode.