Youngsters find a new ‘high’ in ICE, leave PGI doctors worried
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Youngsters find a new ‘high’ in ICE, leave PGI doctors worried

Doctors say that they have been seeing an increase in cases where youth are consuming costly amphetamine-type stimulants.

punjab Updated: Sep 17, 2018 10:47 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
ICE,Punjab Ice,Punjab drugs
(For representation)

Partying in Kasol one night, a 23-year-old landed in the emergency ward of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) the next day with dilated pupils and a worryingly high blood-pressure and heart-rate. When doctors asked him, he revealed that he was given ICE among other drugs.

PGIMER doctors say that they have been seeing an increase in such cases, where youth are consuming costly amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)—a list of five to six illicit drugs that include ICE- crystalline methamphetamine.

“It is called ICE, as it looks like crushed ice and is available in Chandigarh and other parts in the region, however, the use of ATS drugs is more common in North-eastern states,” said Dr Debasish Basu, professor, drug de-addiction and treatment centre.

One of the most expensive drugs

“These are expensive drugs. One gram of ATS would cost you anywhere between ₹10,000 and ₹20,000 whereas, one gram of heroine costs about ₹3,500 in Chandigarh,” Dr Basu adds.

No medicine

Though their number is minimal, doctors fear that its popularity will do unmanageable damage as there is “no specific medicine to cure or control this addiction”. Though counselling and psycho-therapy is there, they add.

“ATS drugs have stimulant properties— it makes you feel energetic and boosts you with high stamina. Ecstasy, the commonest ATS, has an additional property of making you feel more empathetic,” Dr Basu adds. These drugs rank as the world’s second most widely abused drug type after cannabis.

In one year, the drug de-addiction and treatment centre at PGIMER has received at least six patients who have been taking ATS.

“Cases are still rare, but in the coming years, this culture of ATS consumption can rise,” said the doctor. He added, “We have seen a pattern that people are not taking it alone, but with a combination of other drugs, which makes it more dangerous. The harm of ATS increases manifold, the moment it is combined with other drugs.”

On why it is a cause of worry, Dr Basu says, “Firstly, it is very easy to prepare, because these are synthetic. Secondly, there is no medicine to treat ATS drug addiction. And then people are taking it with a combination of other drugs and that make it more dangerous.”

First Published: Sep 16, 2018 15:01 IST