India becoming centre for drug trafficking: INCB

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, March 5: | Updated: Mar 6 2008, 01:37am hrs
The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board has noted increased trafficking and abuse of cannabis and heroin in South Asia. The West African traffickers have targeted countries in South Asia, particularly India for cocaine trafficking.

The report released on Wednesday further said, "South American cocaine is trafficked to India in small quantities where it is exchanged for South-West Asian heroin bound for Europe and North America. India is increasingly being used as a major transit country and also as a destination country for drug trafficking. Cross-border smuggling is relatively easy due to the porous borders between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. Illicit cultivation and abuse of cannabis continue to be a problem in most of the countries in South Asia."

The report said that licitly manufactured pharmaceutical preparations such as codeine-based syrup, benozodiazepines and buprenorphine were smuggled from India into Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In India, organized criminal groups traffic in amphetamine-type stimulants.

In South Asia, injection of heroin and pharameceutical preparations were contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS, it said.

"In India, the areas with highest incidences of drug-related HIV/AIDS continue to be the north-eastern border with Myanmar and large urban areas. Of those who abuse drugs in Maldives, 20% to 25% inject them. Drug abuse by injection rose from 8% in 2003 to 29% in 2006 and three-quarters of imprisoned drug offenders were drug abusers. The report noted with concern that adequate data on drug abuse was not available for Bhutan and Nepal.