India fast emerging major source of party drug ketamine

Known as the common man`s cocaine, ketamine is becoming a hit among college goers and youths.

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2010, 19:45 PM IST

New Delhi: India is fast emerging as a
major source of ketamine or party drug, traditionally used as
an anaesthetic for animals, smuggled out by narcotics cartels
due to its increasing popularity especially in Southeast Asia.

Known as the common man`s cocaine, ketamine is
becoming a hit among college goers and youths in many
countries, sources in the country`s anti-narcotics agencies
said.

Though ketamine is not banned under the Narcotics
Drugs Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, its export is highly
regulated.

The Canadian Customs department had recently seized a
whopping 100 kg of ketamine smuggled into the country from
India.

The seizure in the foreign country was made on the
inputs given by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
Similarly another huge consignment of Ketamine was
seized by an European country based on the inputs from here,
the sources said.

Traditionally, ketamine has been used in the country
as an anaesthetic drug for animals but is now making its way
outside India.

Sources said there is a growing demand from foreign
countries including Japan to put ketamine under the NDPS list.

At present, the substance is freely found in the country
including at many chemist shops.

However, to export it, one has to take a `No Objection
Certificate` from the office of the Narcotics Commissioner.

While the substance is priced at few thousands of
rupees per kg, when smuggled out it goes for about Rs 10 lakh
per kg.

"The profit margin is huge. It is sold at about 100
times its price here and hence narcotics cartels are into this
trade. Moreover unlike heroin and cocaine, Ketamine is cheaper
and is supposed to give a high," a source said.

According to reports, Ketamine is hallucinogenic and
people can experience unpleasant flashbacks even weeks after
the drug has been eliminated from the body.

A serious intoxication can lead to acidosis--increased
acidity in the blood, rhabdomyolysis- rapid breakdown of
skeletal muscle, epileptic seizures, respiratory depression
and cardiac arrest.

PTI