Party drugs rock city nightlife
Guwahati, which had developed into a transit point for narcotics over the last five years, has now emerged as a market for party drugs along with the rapidly growing nightlife in the city.
The party or club drugs are specially designed from narcotic or chemical drugs by synthesising those in laboratories to induce psychedelic or psychoactive effects and are mostly used in clubs and discotheques.
According to sources in the anti-vice cell, ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine drugs such as Speed, Devils Dust, Ya Ba and WB have found its way into the pubs and discotheques that operate mainly at night in the city.
“We have marked at least five such nightclubs in the city where, according to our informers, such drugs are being distributed. With the growing city nightlife more pubs are emerging in the city and these pubs and bars are indulging in such activities to pull in customers,” the source said.
Talking about the modus operandi, the source revealed, “So far, no pub or nightclub has been found directly involved in distributing the drugs which is why we cannot raid them. They allow the peddlers inside who then conduct the dealings. We are still unsure if the clubs take any cuts from these peddlers.”
That is why the drug busts that are going on in the city are mostly confined to apprehending peddlers and no raids in pubs or nightclubs have been conducted yet,
In a raid last week, the crime branch had arrested as many as 18 persons from different parts of the city – Panbazar, Paltan Bazar, Latasil, Noonmati, Basistha, Hatigaon, Khetri and Sonapur – and seized large quantities of heroin, brown sugar, cough syrups, syringes, more than 5 kg ganja and illicit liquor.
In one such raid at Fancy Bazar, police recovered about 8 millilitres of Number 4, an injectable form of heroin. It is considered one of the Schedule-I party drugs along with LSD and Ecstasy.
Smugglers opt for train network to transport drugs
With regular trains running between Guwahati and Barak Valley and Tripura, the narcotic route has also shifted from Nagaland to Mizoram, revealed sources in the narcotics control bureau.
Though a lot of the narcotics such as brown sugar, cocaine and heroin still come through the through Moreh (Manipur)-Dimapur (Nagaland) route from Myanmar, party drugs and the synthetic drugs mostly take the Mizoram route.
“Tablets containing ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine are illegally transported from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to Manipur and then smuggled to Myanmar. In the illegal factories of Myanmar the party drugs are prepared which then again finds its way into Guwahati and other parts of the Golden Triangle – the drugs, arms and prostitution network in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Thailand that covers parts of China and northeast India,” the source said.
On December 2015, the first broad gauge train to Silchar was flagged off while in January 2016, the first broad gauge train to Tripura started.
With the inclusion of these regions in broad gauge network, there are now six trains to Silchar in Barak Valley and four trains to Agartala in Tripura plying from different parts of the country via Guwahati.
“After the introduction of broad gauge, the narcotics traffic has increased a lot. Most of the peddlers are arrested from trains coming from Barak Valley and Tripura. From what we have apprehended, we have found that the bulk of marijuana comes mostly from Tripura and North Cachar Hills while heroin, brown sugar and morphine comes from Silchar. In most of the cases, these are being freighted from Mizoram,” Utpal Kumar Das, officer-in-charge of Government Railway Police told G Plus.
Devil’s Breath in the city
The seeds of Datura are considered psychedelically pious among Hindu god Shiva’s worshippers. But in the wrong hands, it can become “The Devil’s Breath,” which according to anti-vice sources is making its way into the city from Nepal.
“We’ve had information that in very small quantities, these are being smuggled in from Nepal. The route into Assam, according to our informant, is through Darjeeling and North Bengal. But, as far as its commercial sale through the peddlers' network goes, it is not available here yet,” the source said.
Hyoscine, also known as scopolamine, is a white powder like substance which is extracted from Datura that is otherwise used as a medicinal stimulant to treat motion sickness and postoperative nausea and vomiting. In its potent state, the powder is considered worldwide as one of the most dangerous drugs that inflict effects like lack of motor functioning and free will, memory loss, muscle spasm and even death if overdosed.
First developed in Colombia, the drug is called Zombie drug there due to the impact it has on those who consume it. Police sources fear, if not for addiction purposes, the drug might be used by criminals to spike people.
“According to various reports from worldwide, we have found that the drug sends the person who consumes it to a state where he/she loses free will. There were incidents of raping and robbing of people in intoxicated state worldwide. What is more worrisome is that even if the drug is thrown at someone or if someone inhales it, the effect still remains.
Datura is a plant that grows widespread in tropical countries like Colombia, India and Nepal. Among the worshippers of Shiva (Pashupati in Nepal), the consumption of Datura is considered holy. Unlike weed, which is widespread among saints and monks, Datura seed – also illegal in both the countries – is considered in trusted groups.
The Devil’s Breath, according to international reports, is being synthesised by Nepal’s Maoist banned organisations.
“The reports of smuggling here came after the Darjeeling unrest in June last year,” the sources said.
The Party Drugs in the city:
Ephedrine drugs are actually medicinal drugs mostly used as a high potent stimulant to prevent low blood pressure during spinal anaesthesia and are also used for asthma, narcolepsy and obesity. The following are ephedrine drugs designed to be party drugs:
Ya Ba: A mix of methamphetamine and caffeine. It falls under Schedule – II drugs and is considered as having high potential for abuse with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.
WB: It is a hormone stimulant and falls under a cheaper variant of party drugs. It is a Schedule- II drug.
Speed: The street name for amphetamine is Speed. While it is commonly confused with methamphetamine, Speed has a lower potent and at times is also prescribed by psychiatrists. Falls in Schedule - III drug.
Devil Dust: It is a variant of cocaine, an opium product. The Devil Dust is only confined to the affluent class of the society as it is costly. The American drug finds its way into Guwahati from Mumbai and Delhi mostly. It’s a Schedule - II drug.
LSD: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as acid, is a psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects and is one of the common party drugs. Here, however, it is not that popular due to its high cost. LSD is a Schedule - I drug.