The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has unearthed an inter-state racket of psychotropic medicine traffickers with the seizure of over seven lakh tablets and more than 1,400 vials of injections and bottles of cough syrup, officials said recently.
Three people have been arrested as part of an operation that began early this month and spanned across Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Ludhiana in Punjab and in the national capital, NCB Delhi zonal director K P S Malhotra said.
“A total of 7,24,840 tablets and capsules, 1,400 injections and 80 CBCS (codeine-based cough syrup) bottles have been seized.
“These medicines are suspected to have been diverted from lawful channels into the trafficking network,” he said.
The seizure was made from a godown in the Shahganj area of Agra. The seized tablets also include over 2.87 lakh Tramadol tablets, a regulated drug as it is a psychotropic substance, another senior official said.
The Union Government had brought the drug under the control of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 2018 banning it from being sold freely over the counter.
The synthetic opiate was stated to be abused on a wide scale by ISIS terrorists to suppress pain and boost strength during injury and hence, is also known as ‘fighter drug’ among international anti-narcotics authorities.
Tramadol was required to be regulated in the country as there have been instances in the past where its huge consignments were illegally routed to foreign shores for diversion to terrorist groups, the senior official said.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is now probing the role of pharma companies, dealers and retailers to unearth the entire nexus.
“The seized psychotropic medicines are produced in companies having valid license, so the analysis of diversion from the manufacturing and logistic channel is under investigation,” Malhotra said.
NCB officials said the seized drugs are of schedule H/H1/X category, which require a medical prescription to procure from the pharmacist.
Seized drugs are used for anti-anxiety, as sedatives and pain killers, and lead to habit forming and dependence in victims, the official said.
These drugs that have been seized have a huge market for people who are addicted to sedatives, heroine, opioid-based drugs and fetch huge margins in the illegal sale to the users, the zonal director said.