05 Oct 2017/Thursday
The designer synthetic drug, mostly consumed in the US, is getting into India through Myanmar and reaching Delhi’s party circuit.
It can be a hundred times more potent than morphine or heroin and mere inhalation or contact with the skin can cause an overdose resulting in death.
The new designer drug, China White, has injected itself into the bloodstream of the Indian narcotics market through Myanmar. The substance is a highly potent heroin substitute made from fentanyl – an opioid pain medication with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It works like any other opiate and comes in powdered form, which can be inhaled or injected.
“The designer synthetic drug that is consumed more in the US is now gaining popularity among users in the national Capital. As the demand has increased, traffickers have become active and are supplying consignments from Myanmar to Mizoram and Manipur. It further reaches Delhi and then routes to other states,” said a highly placed source in the narcotics control department.
The latest crackdown came on Wednesday where Mizoram police seized a large quantity of China White. “It was being smuggled from Myanmar and was for consumption in the northeastern states,” said a police officer. Other agencies including Delhi Police have in the past seized more than 12 kg, worth Rs 50 crore in the international market, of the drug in the Capital.
Experts say China White excites the pleasure centres of the brain to an unusual degree, leaving users vulnerable to cravings. Repeated use creates tolerance to its effects, which in turn makes the consumer continue and desire more doses of this substance until the desired effect is reached. Narcotics department is of the view that since the Rohingya crisis has emerged infiltration routes have opened up for not only human passage but also for human trafficking and drug trafficking. This is also one of the reasons that the security agencies are not inclined entry of Rohingyas in India as their knowledge of trafficking routes, fundamentalist attitudes, militant nature and terror links makes them deadly combination.
Indian security Agencies are interested along with narcotics department as the this is the chief mode of earning of most of the terrorist organisations from Al-Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups operating in middle east to Kashmir. The same is true for Northeastern states of India (NSCN(IM and KYKL etc), Myanmar and other ruthless terror groups
Agencies say the Golden Triangle between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand produces an estimated 50 tonne of heroin annually. Myanmar remains the second largest cultivator of illegal opium poppy in the world.
“Even this killer drug is cultivated in the Golden Triangle and is pumped into India using the unfenced border between India and Myanmar. Once it reaches Mizoram and Manipur, it is then trafficked to various states by hiding it in soap cases, toys, footwear and cosmetics. On some occasions, traffickers route it by air,” said a source.
Officials say the drug is also known as heroin no 4. “Opium poppy is now grown primarily by impoverished campesinos (peasants) in mountainous parts of the Golden Triangle. Poppy cultivation is down overall in Myanmar, especially in the Shan state. The poppy is then refined into China White by mixing it with fentanyl, and then, using the porous borders, it is smuggled into India,” said an official.
Most users think that China White means a pure form of fentanyl, but it is actually fentanyl mixed with a certain amount of heroin to provide the “higher than high” effect. Heroin users are inclined to prefer China White with the hopes of receiving a more powerful impact than heroin alone.
Death from fentanyl overdose was declared a public health crisis in Canada in September 2015. In 2016, deaths from fatal fentanyl overdoses in British Columbia, Canada, averaged two persons per day. Medical examiners concluded that musician Prince died on April 21, 2016, from an accidental fentanyl overdose.
In the US, fentanyl caused 20,100 deaths in 2016, a rise of 540 per cent over the past three years.
Sources say the refining and adulteration process from opium to China White is easily available on the internet. “Traffickers are misusing the availability by luring drug abusers with attractive names and the effect,” said an official.
In India, illicit cultivation of poppy takes place in the Himalayan foothills of Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh as well as the Northeast along the India-Myanmar border. But the production is insignificant and does not figure in the trafficking scheme, the official said.