Taking the increasing use of Mephedrone among youngsters into account, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has approached the Centre to add the drug to the list of controlled substances under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The inclusion will make the sale or consumption of the drug a punishable offence.
According to sources, Fadnavis wrote to the Centre, after he was apprised of the increasing consumption of the drug among college and school students in Mumbai and Thane. Fadnavis has also asked the Mumbai police to crack down on those selling the drug.
Mephedrone, which was first synthesised in 1929, was not widely known till it was rediscovered in 2003, said a police officer with the anti-narcotics cell.
Owing to its rampant use, many countries declared the drug illegal. Israel was the first to ban the drug in 2008, followed by Sweden, said the officer. In December 2010, the European Union banned the drug.
Hindustan Times had recently reported that areas such as Worli, Malad, Jogeshwari, Wadala, Kurla, Chembur, Sewri, Dongri, Govandi, Mumbra and Kalyan have become major centres for the synthetic drug.
The drug, which induces a state of euphoria, has become a substitute for the more-expensive cocaine and MDMA. “One gram of Mephedrone costs anywhere between Rs500-700 which is cheap in comparison to cocaine which will cost upwards of Rs5,000 for a gram. The drug should be included under the NDPS Act to ensure an effective crackdown,” said a senior IPS officer, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The Mumbai police commissioner had ordered a crackdown which saw all 93 police stations, apart from the ANC units, registering cases across the city.
The policemen booked the drug users under sections 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc., with intent to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code. The Narcotics Control Bureau, too, had written to the departments concerned to include Mephedrone under controlled substances.