26 June 2010
Today is intl day against drug abuse
The build–up to Saturday’s international day against drug abuse began last week with people living in the city’s slums being sensitised about the ill–effects of drugs by volunteers of Muktangan deaddiction centre.
Right from Shivajinagar, Yerawada and Hadapsar to Tadiwala Road, Mangalwar Peth and Dandekar Pul, people got to hear stories of personal victories by former drug addicts. On Saturday, Anil Awachat, founder of Muktangan, will talk on the UN’s theme ‘Think Health, Not Drugs,’ at the Police Grounds in Shivajinagar at 4.30 pm.
Addicts are not just taking brown sugar and cocaine. “Newer forms of addiction like whiteners, painkillers, sleeping pills and cough syrups have come to light. Their addiction is on the rise. Teenagers in slums and abandoned children inhale whiteners that are easily available in the market,” Mukta Puntambekar, deputy director of Muktangan, said.
Women resort to painkillers and sleeping pills for several reasons. These are easily available over the counter at chemists without prescriptions, she added.
“Currently, we are treating 20 patients in our out–patient department (OPD) for whitener addiction,” said Ajay Dudhane, president of Anandvan de–addiction cum rehabilitation centre.
The centre will soon send a letter to the collectorate demanding a check on the free sale of such medicines at chemists. “Our letter will demands stricter supervision at the chemists in the city and its outskirts that sell sleeping pills and cough syrups without a prescription,” said Dudhane.
Some addicts are enduring snakebites to get high. Anandvan has received two calls from the families of victims suffering from this kind of an addiction. “We are trying to find out more about this particular species of snake which costs over Rs 6,000, is very small and dies after two bites. But the venom is enough to keep a person high for several hours. While it is common in Mumbai, Pune too is catching up,” said Dudhane. Anandvan will host a panel discussion with experts on ‘Think Health, Not Drugs’ at Sadhana Hall in Shaniwar Peth at 11.30 am on Saturday. As for taking any action against addicts, the law does not cover whiteners or petrol inhalation. “Addictions like whitener or petrol inhalation do not fall under the ambit of the law. We can take action against people indulging in such addictions only if a proper law is framed,” said police inspector Satish Deore. He is incharge of the anti–narcotics cell in Pune. He maintained that drug peddling in the city was rampant and it was difficult to catch peddlers. In 2009, Deore and his team managed to seize narcotics Rs 77 lakh worth of narcotics in 58 different cases. “This year so far, we have caught Rs 14 lakh worth of narcotics in 39 cases,” said Deore. For long, the city has been a consumer of drugs and a conduit for narcotic substances from the north and the south.
- Usage of marijuana is on the rise in Pune and this drug comes from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, said police inspector Satish Deore. Opium comes from Rajasthan, while heroin comes from Madhya Pradesh, he added.
- The anti–narcotics cell of Pune crime branch has recovered a huge quantity of ganja and some brown sugar in 2010. Meanwhile, the Pune police have organised a function at the police headquarters in Shivajinagar on Saturday at 4.30 pm.