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Illegal drug trade via internet on the rise in India

Illegal drug trade via internet on the rise in India

The UN body has urged Indian authorities to prevent the use of internet to sell drugs.

New Delhi: India has emerged as a major source for illegal drugs trade on the internet with narcotics smuggled via the country's courier and postal services to the rest of the world, a new UN report said on Wednesday.

"Courier and postal services have become a common means of smuggling drugs out of India," the report released by the International Narcotics Control Board revealed.

Seizures of banned substances to make drugs from places like New York and cities in France and the UK highlight India's big role in the international drug trafficking racket, the report said.

Some shipments were meant for Australia as well.

"These are new (internet use) trends emerging in India and we are trying to crack down on the traffickers and closely coordinating with foreign agencies on this," Ish Kumar, a top official of India's Narcotics Control Bureau, told Reuters.

Illegal firms in the guise of software companies allow transactions of banned pharmaceutical preparations to be made over the internet, the report says. Indian authorities shut down three internet pharmacies in 2008 after they were found to be selling psychotropic substances to buyers in the US

"There is a large criminal network which needs to be broken," Cristina Albertin, a representative of the UN's office on drugs and crime said.

The UN body has urged Indian authorities to prevent the use of internet to sell drugs, UN officials said.I

India has an estimated 73.2 million drugs and alcohol users but the actual numbers could be much higher and only a wider study could provide a correct estimate, officials say.
first published:February 24, 2010, 18:34 IST