Aizawl, May 28 : Kumar Kishore, Project Co-Ordinator for the UNDOC Regional Office, South Asia has said that though heroin is still available in Mizoram, there is an increase in injecting prescription drugs such as, Dextropropoxyphene (Proxyvon/Parvon-Spas etc), which come in from Assam through the Silchar route.
"This situation has led to a spurt in the HIV cases as well as deaths due to abscesses caused by injecting drug use in Mizoram. The users have been identified to be primarily the youth, sex workers, drivers and their sexual partners," said Kumar Kishore. Talking to reporters in Aizawl today, the Project Co-ordinator, UNDOC Regional Office for South Asia said that Mizoram shares an international border with Bangladesh and Myanmar and informal trade takes place between people of these countries. He added that because of its geographical location, some of the challenges faced by the state include, trafficking of drugs, sex trade, trafficking of women and smuggling of goods.
"Following the introduction of heroin the 1970s, drug abuse among the local youth took a new turn in Mizoram. Within ten years time, heroin smoking, a nontraditional form of opiate use replaced the age old tradition of cannabis. Injecting heroin (locally known as ‘No 4) soon took over until the late 90’s. Drug abuse is now a major problem among the youth, with the initial drug of abuse being heroin," Kumar Kishore pointed out.
He then said that although traditionally betel nut, tobacco, cannabis and country liquor were the common intoxicants, a shift from traditional usage to non-traditional forms of use of drugs such as heroin smoking and injecting and injecting dextropropoxyphene (available in capsule form, the powder of which is dissolved in water and injected after filtering it through a cotton wad), took place during the 1970s to early 1980s. "Subsequently, it was observed that a considerable proportion of the local youth in Mizoram started using drugs by injecting first rather than gradually switching from other substance abuse, such as smoking cannabis or taking codeine containing cough syrup," he added.
Further, Kishore cited the report of the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society Revalidation, March 2013 which informed that there are about 10,750 regular 'injecting drugs users' in Mizoram. "Some of commonly used drugs are heroin, Proxyvon/ Parvonspas, cough syrups, ganja, nitrozepam, volatiles (dendrites, petrol etc) of late amphetamines etc," he informed.
He then said that Mizoram is increasingly becoming a trafficking, transitioning and consumption point as the extensive road connections facilitate transportation of heroine and ephedrine. "Mizoram has witnessed a new development in drug trafficking in the new millennium. During 2001-2002, the Excise & narcotics Dept, Government of Mizoram, seized more than 100 tablets of amphetamines type stimulus (ATS)," stated Kumar Kishore.