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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
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Young India falling prey to party drugs: UN official

Jul 5, 2009 - 11:21:06 AM
According to highly placed sources, most ATS flow into India from Myanmar. The Narcotics Control Bureau recently busted several clandestine ATS laboratories in various parts of the country.

[RxPG] New Delhi, July 5 - Youth in India and China face huge risks from party drugs like Ecstasy and Adam because of their large populations and increasing disposable income, a senior UN official has warned.

Besides, these synthetic drugs are easily available as they can be produced in the kitchen unlike heroine or cocaine, says Christina Albertin, who heads the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for South Asia.

'If we look at the ATS - situation, the world drugs report points out that there are fears the ATS has become a bigger problem in the developing world, including India and China,' Albertin told IANS.

Synthetic drugs or ATS like Ephedrine, amphetamines and Methaqualone are known by many names such as Ecstasy, MDMA, Adam, XTC, love drug and hug. They are often abused at parties.

India and China are particularly vulnerable to ATS owing to their large populations and increasing disposable incomes, says the recently released world drugs report.

Albertin says making these drugs is not rocket science, as you can go to internet sites and download recipes on how to produce them.

'If you want to produce heroine or cocaine, you need to have poppy plantations in some parts of the world. You need to have contact with the farmers and need to get the whole production done on the basis of the plants,' says Albertin.

'Then you have the whole chemical process, you need to go near the poppy fields, get all the chemicals there, put up the laboratories there at great risk, making yourself vulnerable to the discovery.

'That does not happen with ATS because synthetic drugs can be produced in the kitchen, they're just chemicals. There are a lot of chemicals that you can buy easily because they may not be under control or they are being deeply neglected,' she says.

According to the world drugs report, there are no prevalent estimates of ATS consumption in India or China. These gaps are major, given the size of the population aged 15-65 years in these countries - 0.73 billion and 0.95 billion respectively in India and China.

'Furthermore, with an increase in both the population and disposable income, their position next to several significant manufacturing countries and expanding domestic manufacture, both countries face substantial risks related to growing ATS use,' says the report.

The last study in India was in 2001 and published in 2004.

'We don't know the actual position and magnitude of the ATS problems in India, which had last performed a household survey in 2001 and it did not include questions specific to various types of ATS consumed,' says Albertin.

According to official sources, the Indian government would be conducting a household survey on the subject next year.

The saddest impact of these drugs is on users who start using them to help cope with life's problems - to do a job better, appear more cheerful, stay awake longer or lose weight quickly - only to find themselves overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, hyper stimulation and paranoia.

These go-go drugs are now consumed in practically every region of the world, posing a significant problem in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

According to experts, India is more vulnerable to the threat posed by the synthetic drugs because key ATS precursors are readily available here and significant manufacturing is also taking place.

'The region is home to a large youth population and potential consumers with increasing disposable income. Plus, prevention and treatment are largely focussed on other drug types,' said a senior law enforcement official.

'The geographic location between the significant ATS markets in Southeast Asia make the country more vulnerable,' the official added.

According to highly placed sources, most ATS flow into India from Myanmar. The Narcotics Control Bureau recently busted several clandestine ATS laboratories in various parts of the country.


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