The Anti Narcotic Cell (ANC) will soon be launching a campaign to spread awareness about the severity of the punishment in store for consumers and peddlers of Mephedrone, following the inclusion of the drug in Schedule II of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
“Under the present Act, Mephedrone has been categorised as a scheduled drug, along with 110 others. Even someone found in possession of just 50 gm would be considered to be using it for commercial purpose, and would be exposed to the severest of punishment. Those dealing with it should know the consequences,” said DCP Namdeo Chavan to HT. Compared to just 50gm of Mephedrone, a much bigger amount of 1kg of charas is considered a commercial quantity.
Chavan said that following the receipt of the notification about the inclusion of the drug under the NDPS Act a few weeks ago, the ANC circulated the information to all 93 police stations and crime branch units through police notices, asking officers to book those found with the drug.
“Now we will approach cable TV operators and theatres to make people aware of the law, appealing that they stay away from the substance. Mobile service operators will also be approached to send our message to every household and citizen. Awareness will act as the best deterrent,” Chavan said.
Islamic clergyman Moin Miyan, who has been leading campaigns against Mephedrone for more than a year now, welcomed the government’s decision to include the drug under the NDPS Act and said it will help save many users and their families from destruction. “The drug has done enough damage to society, as the victims are mostly youngsters. Families have been ruined while hundreds are still struggling to recover at de-addiction centres,” Moin Miya said.
He added that through madarsas and voluntary organisations run by him, meetings and street-corner discussions will be kicked off very soon in Muslim-dominated areas in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, where the problem is acute, to spread word about the severity of the law. “We will also put up advertisements in Urdu newspapers and periodicals to spread the message,” he said.
Mephedrone has now been included in Schedule II of the NDPS Act. Under the act:
>Below 2 gm of the drug is considered consumption quantity
Possession of this invites a maximum of six months of imprisonment and a cash fine of Rs 10,000 as punishment
>Between 2gm and 49gm is considered non-commercial quantity
Possession of this invites 2-10 years of imprisonment and a cash fine of Rs2,000-10,000.
>Above 50gm is considered commercial quantity
Possession of this invites punishment of 10-20 years of imprisonment along with cash fine of Rs 1-2 lakh.
In the six months before the inclusion of Mephedrone under the NDPS Act:
60: Total cases lodged for possession of Mephedrone, under Section 328 of the IPC
88: Number of people arrested
1.98 kg (worth around Rs. 1.9 lakh): Amount of the drug recovered
In the past two weeks, after Mephodrone was included under the NDPS Act:
10: Total cases lodged for possession of Mephedrone
15: Number of people arrested
13.5kg (worth around Rs2.63 crore): Amount of the drug recovered