New Delhi: Twenty-year-old Alisha Jose, a bright college student from a middle-class family in Delhi, was coaxed to try a "pill" at a party by her friends around two years ago. Little did she know that it would be her first step towards ruin. According to sources in the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), a steep increase in party drugs consumption has been noticed in metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, apart from Goa.
"I was hooked on to drugs after that. I've even stolen money from mom and dad to buy drugs...I got into it so deeply that even when I wanted to stop, I was not able to. I got into this mess myself," Alisha told IANS. Her father, Prince Jose Frederick, said: "The past two years were hell for our family... she used to throw things around and shout at the top of her voice. We used to lock her up in a room. We later had to relocate her from our residence."
Alisha said her first introduction to the dark world of drugs was by a Nigerian friend in college, after which she had them regularly at parties. However, she has been undergoing de-addiction procedures for six months now and has almost recovered.
According to experts, adolescents are mostly hooked to drugs like cocaine, ephedrine, methylene di-oxy methamphetamine (MDMA) -- commonly known as ecstasy -- rohypnol and LSD, all of which are called party drugs. Many young adults graduate from these recreational drugs to narcotics like heroin and marijuana.
"Many believe that only marijuana and heroin are dangerous, while party drugs would just give a high without causing any side effects, which is wrong. The physical effects might be mild in the beginning but later it causes nausea, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes and impaired breathing," psychiatrist Sandeep Gupta, who treated Jose, told IANS.
As per the World Drug Report (WDR), released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2010, one million heroin addicts have been registered in India. Experts say there are as many as three million drug addicts in our country.
"The party drugs are much in demand among youngsters as they give them a high for a short period of time without causing exhaustion. We keep raiding certain pockets in Delhi and NCR (National Capital Region), particularly during festive seasons, and we have seen youngsters taking these very often," an NCB official said on condition of anonymity.
Surinder Kumar Sharma, counsellor in the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM), who has battled drug addiction himself, said: "Although Delhi is not known for its rave parties, the usage of party drugs among the student community is less known. Usually, upper class adolescents take this. Mostly, girls get influenced by these drugs and they think party drugs are cool, naughty and fashionable."
The drugs come at a price of Rs.2,000-5,000 per pill. "The youngsters prefer pills, as it can be consumed easily. After they drink, they get such a high that they don't know where they are or what they are doing," Sharma said. Alisha said many even mix ink-remover with a chemical and inhale the concoction to get high.
According to Delhi Police, the drug scene in the capital is not as serious as in cities like Mumbai. "Use of party drugs by youths in Delhi is much less than in Mumbai and other metros," Additional Deputy Commissioner (narcotics cell) Sanjay Bhatia told IANS.
"Consumption of these drugs is high in Mumbai and Delhi as they are transit points. Usually, drug peddlers get student visas and mix with the student community, posing as students themselves," an NCB official said.
Bureau sleuths say since January 2009, a total of 108 Nigerians have been arrested in Delhi on charges of drug-trafficking. "Major drugs seized include heroin, cocaine, MDMA and LSD. We have increased our interdiction efforts against the Nigerian traffickers by galvanising the intelligence network apparatus and mounting surveillance," the NCB official added.