Washington: India has become a hub of
drugs and is an attractive transhipment area for heroin bound
for Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and North America despite
constant efforts by governments at all levels to combat this
sort of crime, a US report has said.
Located between Southwest Asia (the Golden Crescent)
and Southeast Asia (the Golden Triangle) -- the two main
sources of illicit opium and other narcotic drugs -- India is
an attractive transshipment area for heroin bound for Europe,
Africa, Southeast Asia and North America, said the 2011
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the State
"India has become a hub of drugs sold through illegal
Internet pharmacies and the misuse of courier services,
despite constant efforts by governments at all levels to
combat this sort of crime," the report said.
The report said, India is the world`s largest producer
of licit opium and the only authorised user of the gum method
of opium production for pharmaceutical preparations.
This method of production is appropriate for India`s
labour-rich economy, but is intrinsically harder to police
from efforts at diversion.
Precursor chemicals and other controlled substances
are also diverted, as well as licit pharmaceutical
preparations and prescription drugs containing psychotropic
substances, it noted.
According to the annual State Department report, use
of cocaine and heroin is declining globally, and use of
alcohol, opium, and cannabis- the traditional drugs in India-
are giving way to synthetic drugs such as Amphetamine Type
Stimulants (ATS) and prescription drugs, which are easily
attainable and can be both bought and sold over the counter,
via the Internet, and transported via courier.
"The emerging drug abusers in India are young,
affluent professionals, beneficiaries of India`s recent rapid
economic growth, using chemicals to stay awake longer or feel
relaxed. With seventy percent of India`s population below 35
years of age, the potential number of substance abusers is
very large," it said.
India is also one of the world`s largest clandestine
methaqualone producers. Methaqualone (Mandrax) in pill and
bulk form is mainly trafficked to South America and South
Africa, the report said.
Referring to an official Indian estimate that roughly
10 per cent of licit opium production is diverted for illicit
heroin production, primarily for local consumption and for the
production of crudely refined "brown sugar" heroin, the report
said this would mean a diversion of 52.4 MT of opium gum.