After New Year celebrations last year, one woman woke up in a hotel room with bruises on her thigh and torn clothes. She didn’t remember anything, but had to deal with severe psychological trauma for weeks.
Dr Sagar Mundada from the psychiatry department of KEM Hospital, who treated her, said he attended to three or four women diagnosed with severe depression from sexual abuse, in the first two weeks of January in 2016. The cause? Date rape drugs such as Rohypnol (Roofies), Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB or Liquid ecstasy) and Ketamin (anesthetic drug) that are used to spike drinks or food at crowded New Year’s Eve parties. They are odourless and colourless, and act as relaxants, make people lose control or keep them in a trance-like state. Doctors warned how every year, those who fell prey to them were sexually abused.
Sexologists and psychiatrists reported attending to at least 10 to 12 patients in the first week of January. Dr. Satish Malde, a Dadar-based sexologist who has been running a helpline for 16 years for people with sex-related queries, said he gets calls from a number of men in the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve, to inquire about drugs that help in instant arousal of their partners.
“I tell such callers using date rape drugs is a criminal offence and do not assist in sexual arousal.They reduce physical resistance,” said Malde.
The drugs act quickly, and make people confused and unconscious. The victim loses memory for 8-12 hours.
Cops to monitor parties, keep them free of drugs
Private parties this New Year’s Eve are on the crime branch’s radar, as a lot of drugs are usually sold on the last day of the year across Mumbai.
Teams of the anti-narcotics cell (ANC) of the Mumbai crime branch will be dressed in plain clothes to keep an eye on private parties at bungalows, terrace parties and parties at pubs and restaurants and take action if drugs are being sold there, said one official.
The ANC official said some staff will be on bandobast duty, but have also been asked to watch parties going on in their areas.
The move comes after the ANC, as part a special drive, caught four drug peddlers in two cases in December alone.
The drive was initiated as the demand for drugs usually increases this time of the year.
In the first case, officials arrested Ashok Kumar Verma, 29, who was wanted in three cases by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) along with his aide Abdul Memon, 36, in Bharat nagar in Bandra (East) with 2.5 kilograms of charas worth Rs 2.5 lakh. The drugs were brought from J&K.
In the second case, Shrikant Barad 44 and Santosh Kumar 28 were arrested from Vikhroli with 12kg ganja worth Rs 1.2 lakh.
(With inputs from Jayprakash S Naidu)