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Centre may ban proxyvon in N-E

Centre may ban proxyvon in N-E

Shivnath Jha
The Statesman (New Delhi)
June 27, 2000

The Centre has taken serious note of the alleged involvement of licensed
opium poppy growers with drug traffickers in the country and the
deteriorating drug abuse situation in the North-east states.

In this regard it is considering a ban on proxyvon in pharmaceutical
markets of the region, especially in Mizoram, as it is increasingly
being used as a substitute for heroin.

A recent report of the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB), in
which India is also one of the six representing nations, noted that the
area of cultivation has increased from 23,811 hectares in 1986 to 29,700
hectares in 2000 with the percentage of consumption increasing from 82.6
per cent to 115.8 per cent during the same period. But more than 60
percent of farmers engaged in the illicit cultivation of opium during
the 1998-99 crop-year failed to meet the minimum qualifying yield per
hectare as established by the government.

The other nations are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Expressing concern, the report also stated that besides Chittagong port
in Bangladesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Delhi have emerged as
"major centres" for drug trafficking and were witnessing a repaid
deterioration in the drug abuse situation.

The report also noted that new smuggling routes leading form Myanmar,
through the Indian border states of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland have
been adopted, mainly to markets overseas, after intensified enforcement
activities in China and Thailand.

A senior official in the Union ministry for health and family welfare
told The statesman, "We are yet to initiate action on the INCB's report,
especially for the North-east region. However, we are hopeful that the
government will take some positive measures by banning Proxyvon in the

The INCB was set up to prevent illicit cultivation, production and
manufacture and illicit traffic and use of drugs. It has observed that
if timely action is not started against the massive use of proxyvon, the
health risk in the North-east region will be aggravated, including the
spread of HIV/AIDS.

Proxyvon, which contains dextro-propoxyphene, a synthetic opid used as
an analgesic, is increasingly being used by drug addicts. "Since
proxyvon is cheaper, it is used as substitute for heroin and, while not
available in injectable form, it is dissolved and injected by drug
addicts," it added.

In India, the report stated, pharmaceutical preparations containing
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are manufactured locally and
are readily available at a cheaper rate than heroin.

Despite government regulations prohibiting pharmacies from selling any
pharmaceutical preparation containing psychotropic substances or
narcotic drugs without a prescription from a registered medical
practitioner, the domestic distribution channels, including pharmacies,
stockholders and wholesale purchasers, are suspected of illicitly
supplying such preparations.