Walk through a trendy party in the Capital these days and you are likely to see revellers calmly pop ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine pills, chemical stimulants widely used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
These drugs are relatively easy and inexpensive to produce, making them popular with high-seekers across age groups.
Among the truly elite, cocaine and high-quality heroin are the preferred drug, but since it is difficult to find heroin of good quality and since cocaine offers very little 'value' for money, Delhiites prefer synthetic drugs such as ephedrine.
In addition to becoming a manufacturing hub for these synthetic 'party drugs', Delhi is also increasingly becoming a transit point for their distribution across the country and beyond.
In 2012, for instance, the Delhi police recovered a total of 61 kg of heroin, nearly 3 kg of cocaine and nearly 500 kg of party drugs such as pseudoephedrine, methaqualone and ketamine at the airport alone.
"Though consumption is common at parties, Delhi is widely used as a transit point," says a senior customs official. "While ephedrine drug is smuggled in powder form to north-eastern states and taken to African countries via Myanmar and Malaysia, heroin comes to Delhi from south-west Asia and is smuggled out to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Europe and the US."
While opium comes from Mansaur, Chittaur and Jhalawar, pseudoephedrine comes to Delhi mainly from Indore and Madhya Pradesh. Ganja, used mostly by the lower classes, comes from Orissa and Bihar, while charas is trafficked from Nepal and Himachal Pradesh, says Ravindra Yadav, Delhi's additional commissioner of police (Crime).
"Within Delhi, we have noticed an increase in cocaine consumption at parties," says a senior police officer. "Traffickers have also begun mixing heroin with other drugs and selling this adulterated version of the potent narcotic relatively cheap."