A worried mother recently walked into the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) south Mumbai office with her teenage daughter, a first-year graduation student addicted to Mephedrone (MD) and now embroiled into selling the drugs, asking for their help. Similarly, a teenage boy was counselled by NCB officials after his parents approached them with his drug problem.
NCB officials said this is a recent trend they have come across through investigations. “The common modus operandi is to distribute the drugs free of cost initially. Later, the teenagers who ask for more drugs are forced to sell them to peers, thus creating a chain,” said a high-ranking NCB officer.
The NCB is keeping a close watch on drug traffickers targeting youngsters and pulling them into this racket.He added, “Drug traffickers are targeting young boys and girls. The interaction with the victims revealed that the traffickers scout for youngsters with personal problems. In one case, the girl’s parents were mulling for divorce and the scenario at home was affecting her and that they used to make her turn to drugs.”
The law states that two grams to less than 50 grams of mephedrone is considered non-commercial quantity and the punishment is two-year jail, extending up to 10, and a fine of up to Rs1 lakh. A minimum of 50 grams of mephedrone is considered commercial quantity for which one can be jailed for 10 years to 20 years and can be fine for up to Rs2 lakh.“The drug traffickers are extremely careful when it comes to keeping the drugs. They will ensure that they keep 40 grams of MD to get less punishment even if they are caught,” said the officer.
The victims revealed that they consumed the drugs almost daily and at times resorted to stealing money from their parents. After a prolonged campaign on its abuse by various enforcement agencies, the state and the Bombay HC, MD was included in the NDPS Act on February 5, 2015. “Young girls are first turned into drug addicts and then asked to be sellers. This trend is worrying,” said the officer.