The M-Cat (Mephedrone) is a
synthetic drug belonging to the amphetamine and cathinone family. It is an
easily available, cheap drug. The drug addiction has now targeted Mumbai and
the city's psychiatrists are attending to a large number of cases of Mephedrone
addiction, which has nearly branched to an epidemic.
Over the last six months, there have been three to six cases of M-Cat says Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist and his recent case includes a teenaged girl. She was missing from home for over two days. He also attended to a senior excise officer who is finding it hard to get out of addiction. "Such high number of cases daily is extremely unusual. This simply tells about the easy availability of the drug and the rapidly multiplying number of users," said Shetty.
Estimates reveal that there are about 30,000 M-Cat users in the city of Mumbai. The bigger portions of these users fall between the 14 to 19 years age group. "Youngsters can afford a few doses of drug every day by simply skipping a snack, because peddlers sell it for as cheap as Rs 15 per dose," said Dr Yusuf Merchant, president of Fort-based Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation and Research Centre.
"Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) and methylene dioxyamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) are banned substances under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. But the new kid on the block, M-Cat, though belonging to the same family of drugs but with more potent effects, is not included," said Dr Yusuf Merchant, president, Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation and Research Centre.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) wants:
There are three major pleas made in the PIL - Mephedrone should be brought under the NDPS Act; Analogs of all drugs must be brought under this act; Powers should be given to a nodal agency like the NDP so as to temporarily ban the drug.