The Centre had in February 2015 included mephedrone as a psychotropic substance under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Mumbai: The Mumbai police seized banned narcotics worth Rs 5. 46-crore between January and March 2017, of which 80 per cent was mephedrone (a.k.a. Meow Meow). The police, however, do not have the required forensic tools or drug detection kit to test mephedrone, which leads to delays in their preliminary probes. The police’s anti-narcotics cell (ANC) has now requested the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for the supply of the kit to it.
NCB sources told The Asian Age that so far no agency in India has the detection kit. “Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL) in Pune has been attempting to create such a kit since late 2014 on NCB’s request,” said NCB sources.
The Centre had in February 2015 included mephedrone as a psychotropic substance under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. “In the absence of the detection kit, the ANC has to rely upon confirmation of seized mephedrone by revelations made by accused nabbed for their possession then confirmation from forensic labs,” said a police source. The ANC seized 21 kg of mephedrone in 10 seizures between January and March this. The seizure was worth Rs 4.34 crore. Last month, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had seized 238 kg of mephedrone from Palghar.
When contacted, ANC’s DCP Shivdeep Lande said, “We have requested the NCB to provide us with drug detection kits to test mephedrone.” NCB’s Zonal Director Sanjay Jha said, “Yes, the ANC has requested us for a detection kit for mephedrone. We have been consistently asking HAL to prepare a drug detection kit for mephedrone, which is a relatively new narcotic.”
A police source said that the ANC has detection kits for all other major narcotics including cocaine and heroin but not mephedrone. “It is emerging as the challenge for the future as it is relatively cheap and much-liked by the young. A detection kit can strengthen the FIR registered by us and the case in the court,” the source said.
The source said that a key reason why the narco-traffickers are preferring mephedrone is the ease with which it can be made from chemicals available in open markets that are fertiliser ingredients. Some arrested peddlers have told cops that a kg of mephedrone can be made in Rs 15,000 but sold at Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh in grey markets.
The sad story so far
The Mumbai police arrested alleged narcoticssupplier Shashikala ‘Baby’ Patankar in April 2015 after it seized 12 kg of mephedrone, from her male friend. Forensic tests later however held that the seized substance did not test positive for mephedrone. Mephedrone is known to deprive sleep and is comparatively cheap, the reason why it is fast becoming the preferred poison of younger addicts, especially those doing the graveyard shifts. It leads to pupil dilation, thus the sobriquet of meow meow. It comes at Rs 2,300 per gram and is cheaper than Cocaine (Rs 8,000 per gram). A stimulant, it leads to excessive sweating, headaches, heart palpitations and nausea.