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Drug use, smuggling on the rise in NE

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 12: Consumption of different types of rcotics and inter-State smuggling of these substances have increased manifold in Northeastern States including Assam. The disturbing trend is evident from the increasing seizure of rcotics by law enforcement agencies in the region.

As per data provided by the rcotics Control Bureau (NCB), 0.11 kg of cocaine was seized in 2016, 5,249.52 kg and 1085.33 kg of ganja in 2016 and 2015, 4.01 kg and 7.38 kg of heroin in 2016 and 2015, 146.1 kg and 21.27 kg of opium in 2016 and 2015 and 4 kg of poppy husk and poppy straw in 2016 have been seized in Assam.

In 2016 and in 2015, 1,74,831 and 63,924 Codeine-based cough syrup bottles and 1,57,673 tablets have been seized in different parts of Assam by law enforcement agencies.

In border States like Manipur, Mizoram and galand, large hauls of heroin and opium have been reported. As per NCB records, large-scale opium cultivation is done in Manipur and supplied to different parts of the country and even abroad.

The Northeast is one of the worst affected regions because of its proximity to the Golden Triangle – the trijunction of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos – which accounts for over 60 per cent of rcotics traded across the world.

Sources further stated that despite efforts to tackle the problem of medicil drug abuse, pharmaceutical preparations containing rcotic and psychotropic substances continue to be diverted from the pharmaceutical industry. A section of drug distributors and pharmacies are also suspected to be involved.

The main market of rcotics in the region is much larger than estimated. Most drug consignments from the Northeast are being routed to other parts of the country through Assam. A study by Unicef highlighted Assam as the country’s second highest drug trafficking zone and identified Udalguri, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Sonitpur, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Kamrup as the most vulnerable districts.