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
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.