Indians among highest opium users
New Delhi - Punjab has emerged as a major transit point for drugs coming in from Afghanistan to India, which has one of the highest numbers of opium users in the world, an UN report said.
The supply of drugs, especially heroin, has increased in India in the recent years even though licit opium cultivation has shown a decline, the 'World Drug Report' released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.
The availability and consumption of drugs have increased in Punjab in the recent years with cities like Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Patiala emerging as hotspots, it said.
The arrival of cocaine, a costly drug, in the country has also increased manifold with anti-narcotics sleuths recovering 200 kgs of the contraband so far this year as compared to 14 kgs seized in the last four years, the report said.
The fashion of drug smuggling and supply in India is also changing rapidly, posing a major challenge to authorities and the primary focus now was to understand their fast-changing modus operandi, officials said.
"To grapple with the beast, you need to know its shape and form," said Gary Lewis, the South Asia representative of the UNODC after releasing the report yesterday.
Apart from the Punjab route, drugs reach India from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh through the southern and eastern states.
According to the report, India has 25 million drug users, which makes the country account for 1/10th of the problem drug users in the world.