City de-addiction centre registers first female meth addicts; parts of Kothrud, Kalyani Nagar, Shivaji Nagar and Aundh have caught the attention of the narco dept
I was bored with brown sugar. It made me drowsy. I wanted to be perked up and concentrate on my studies better,” said 18-year-old Heeba (name changed), a girl from Mumbai’s upmarket neighbourhood of Versova. Today, completely wasted, anorexic, dark circles under her eyes and mumbling broken sentences, she is one of the first female addicts of methamphetamine to surface in Pune’s de-addiction centres. “I took to meth (methamphetamine) eight months ago.
Unlike brown sugar, meth helped me concentrate on my studies, kept me alert, happy and increased my thinking ability. Before I knew it I was an addict. I spent between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 a month on procuring the drug, with it costing Rs 2,500 a gram,” Heeba added. But the abuse cost her far heavier than the money she was expending.
“On days I could not access meth, the reality of my health confronted me. I started skipping meals, living off fruit juices that helped to energise me,” she recalled. Methamphetamine, clearly, the new substance in town, has been making its presence felt only in the past one year with a trickling in of addicts at the detoxification centres, most of them male.
Heeba, who regularly comes to the city, came to Practical Life Skills Mental Health and Rehab Centre at Pashan, accompanied by her fellow addict Ameera (name changed), another resident of Andheri. In fact, it was Ameera who introduced Heeba to meth. “I started doing meth nine months ago after breaking up with my fiance, who along with his family had duped my parents of Rs 2.5 crore.
Unable to cope with my depression I took to drugs and moved to meth. It made me euphoric,” Ameera explained. With her parents never questioning her spending habits she was spending Rs 1 lakh a month on the drug. Alarmed with Heeba’s deteriorating health her parents sat her down for a talk. Convinced she needed help, she turned to Ameera and coaxed her to join in with her detox efforts.
Ameera’s parents were informed too. Soon, on the advice of their Pune friends, they landed at Pashan. Heeba and Ameera used to largely source their supply of meth from agents lurking in nooks and crannies of Millat Nagar but when in Pune their friends at Koregaon Park were not short on supply. The two insist that the friends too procured the substance from Mumbai.
But Sunil Tambe, police inspector (PI), anti-narcotics cell of Pune police’ crime branch, confirms that white powder that is snorted by addicts is doing the rounds in the city too. “We received a circular just six months ago from the Narcotics Control Bureau, Mumbai, mentioning a new drug becoming popular with the youth. This was methamphetamine.
We are yet to seize the drug in the city but have identified pockets in Kothrud, Kalyani Nagar, Patil Estate of Shivaji Nagar and Aundh for surveillance and are looking to spring surprise raids,” Tambe told Mirror. “Methamphetamine is a drug that stimulates one’s central nervous system. It is popularly referred to as speed and is very akin to cocaine. Its severe adverse effects (SAE) include anorexia and dermatological complications.
Also overdose can lead to cardiac arrest,” informed Indrajit Deshmukh, project head at the Pashan Centre. It also leads to insomnia, psychological aberrations such as paranoia, hallucination and hyperactivity. “In the last five years that we have been around we have not had any cases,” said Prafulla Mohite, the project coordinator at Nishigandh, the women’s wing of Muktangan. She, however, added that Muktangan’s experience with meth-addicts has also been limited to a few in the past year.
►► We are yet to seize the drug in the city but have identified pockets for surveillance and are looking to spring surprise raids