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How Punjab Govt’s War on Drugs Has Unwittingly Led to a Rise in Number of Deaths

But what has caused the sudden increase? According to assistant director of Narcotics Control Bureau, Mohinderjeet Singh, the crackdown on drugs has led to shortage of heroin. This seems to have fuelled the adulteration of Chitta, leading to more deaths.

Navleen Lakhi | News18.com@navleenlakhi

Updated:July 7, 2018, 2:22 PM IST
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How Punjab Govt’s War on Drugs Has Unwittingly Led to a Rise in Number of Deaths
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After coming to power, Captain Amarinder Singh had promised he would wipe off drugs from the state. But the recent spate of deaths in the state due to drug overdose has put question marks over the promised crackdown.

But what has caused the sudden increase? According to assistant director of Narcotics Control Bureau, Mohinderjeet Singh, the crackdown on drugs has led to shortage of heroin. This seems to have fuelled the adulteration of Chitta, leading to more deaths.

Singh said that this year, Punjab has seen a steep decline in supply of drugs, especially ‘Chitta’, as police, BSF and other agencies were strict as compared to previous years. The supply decreased but the demand did not change.

“Both State and Central agencies have aggressively tried to nab drug peddlers. Different agencies of Punjab police – STF 9 Special Task Force), SSOC (State Special Operation Cell) etc have held many peddlers. Even at the border, BSF has been strict and undertook more seizures as compared to last year. This is why the supply of drugs has decreased,” he told News18.

To fill this gap, peddlers have now started mixing synthetic drugs to fulfil this demand. Singh said that a drug addict doesn’t recover easily. The ones who are in a bad state can take two years to come out of it. So, the addicts take these synthetic drugs that are made locally and this leads to health problems, and sometimes death.

“If anyone is addicted to drugs from many years, he can’t leave it overnight. An addict needs support of family. Family’s love and support can play a huge role in helping an addict recover,” he said, adding unless the demand decreases, things won’t change on the ground.

Giving information related to the increase in seizures, Singh said, “Punjab police had seized around 200 kg of heroin last year and this year they have already seized around 190 kg heroin in past five to six months. Similarly, BSF seized around 211 kg heroin in trans-border seizures and this year they have already collected 160 kg of heroin.”

According to the data that NCB receives every month from Punjab police, last year they registered around 9,500 cases and more than 10,000 people were arrested. From January till May, 5,000 have been arrested and 4500 cases have already been registered.

The increase in deaths has also brought focus to the ‘Cut Drug’, which many say have replaced ‘Chitta’.

Throwing light on it, Singh says, “Chitta was marketed as pure form of heroin. Now with a drug getting popular by Cut Drug is merely a new way of peddlers attracting addicts towards them. It is a way to lure addicts. We have sent some samples and will get to know what exactly it is after the reports come out.”

With inputs from Pamil Bhatia
| Edited by: Parth Sharma
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