City doctors have warned that consumption of drugs is going to rise steeply on New Year’s Eve. And they have appealed to youngsters to stay off any white powder.
Psychiatrists say the use of methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) and mephedrone (M-Cat) is bound to be rampant in New Year parties. “M-Cat and Crystal Meth have taken over weed and cocaine in the past six months. Their consumption has reached epidemic proportions in Mumbai. M-Cat is a chemical to be wary of as it is freely available and effectively marketed,” said Dr Harish Shetty, city-based senior psychiatrist.
Shetty sees close to 100 patients every month suffering from drug addiction and substance abuse. “Of these, 20% alone are on M-Cat. The patients range between as young as 14-years-old to 40-somethings,” he said.
“M-Cat, which gives an instant rush, makes a person impulsive, aggressive and hyperactive. The risk of driving rashly or meeting with an accident is worse under the influence of this drug than under the influence of alcohol.”
The first addicts of heroin were noticed near the Gateway of India in 1978. Post the inlays of heroin in Mumbai, it took close to a decade for the number of users to reach an estimated 1 lakh.
Dr Yusuf Merchant, president, Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation and Research Centre, said, “Within a year alone, users of M-Cat have reached to nearly 30,000. It is being brought from China in kilos, hoarded and sold in black market.”
While for every 100 men, one woman consumes heroin, and for every 20 men, one woman uses cocaine, more women are getting high on M-Cat than ever. “For every three men I see using M-Cat, one woman uses the drug. At this rate, the risk of transmitting STDs like HIV/AIDS is high,” warned Merchant.
Shetty said, “What is even more appalling is that there is no concentrated effort by the police to track from where the drugs are being bought. While peddlers are being temporarily arrested, there are no large hauls or busting operations of clandestine labs.”