Some use drugs as status symbol, some by habit

In the past one year, the seizure of cocaine and two other psychotropic drugs in Delhi were the highest in the country, officials said on the eve of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed on June 26.

For high-income groups in the city, drug abuse is like a status symbol, and for the poor, it is a habit they acquire while dealing in contraband for easy money, a Delhi-based psychologist said.

The Narcotics Control Bureau zonal director Rohit Sharma said that between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014, 26.34 kg cocaine was seized in the city, along with 136.07 kg mandrax and 351 kg ephedrine.

In heroin seizures, Delhi yielded 84.4 kg during this period compared to 499.31 kg in Punjab and 145.27 kg in Jammu and Kashmir, he said. The huge seizures of drugs in the capital once again point to it being a hub of drug use, trade and transit. 

Sharma said, “Synthetic drugs in rave parties are more in demand than plant drugs in the metros, including Delhi.”

Peer pressure, stress and the trend of nuclear families and lifestyle choices are important factors in the metros for people turning to these addictives, he said.

Clinical psychologist Aruna Broota said people from both low and high income groups in the metros were equally engaged in drug abuse.

“Low income group members get hooked to abuse as they work as middlemen in the system of drug trafficking for monetary needs,” she said.

For high income group, the abuse is more related to status symbol as offering expensive drugs in designer plates during parties has become a trend, she said.

Pointing to drug dependence among teenagers, Broota said they form their own groups and indulge in such activities, with parents hardly being aware of it due to lack of time.

NCB officials said the amount of confiscated drugs in Delhi also pointed to the city getting steady supplies of ganja (2179.93 kg seized), pseudoephedrine (319.88 kg), hashish (52.09 kg) and opium (40.77 kg).

Sharma said checking entry of drugs from other countries was difficult.  “India is precariously located as on its western front, the golden crescent formed by Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are major sources of drugs like opium and heroin, whereas on its eastern front countries like Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia also deal heavily in drugs,” Sharma added.

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