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Ketamine is a veterinary drug, but is hot in the trance/club circuit abroad

Last updated on 19:50 - by El NACHO - Tags :

The manufacture of ketamine, a hallucinogen, is legal in India. Not classified as a controlled substance, it can be bulk-manufactured Ketamine is a veterinary drug, but is hot in the trance/club circuit abroad International pressure has led India to notify that exporters must get the nod from the Commissioner of Drugs
Legally manufactured in India. Illegally consumed at rave parties from Ibiza to California. That's ketamine hydrochloride—the chemical that induces euphoria, triggers off hallucinations and keeps party animals in a trance through the night. Ironically, in India, it is classified as a veterinary drug primarily used to anaesthetise pets—thus available over the counter. However, ketamine has attracted very little attention in this country since its abuse among Indians is limited largely to Goa's trance and techno music crowd.
Ketamine can be injected, snorted or imbibed orally. The effect of the drug varies from person to person, and can last up to 24 hours. Its use can result in delirium, amnesia and impaired motor function. While the drug was tried by acid gurus like Timothy Leary in the '60s, its popularity is linked to the dance-trance movement taking wings in the '80s. Called 'Special K' by the rave party crowd, it is taken along with other drugs like cocaine and has suddenly become popular as an alternative to LSD. Long-term abuse can lead to loss of memory and eyesight besides nervous and mental disorders. An overdose can be lethal.
In India, ketamine is manufactured legally since it is not classified as a controlled drug. But evidence of it being shipped in bulk to Southeast Asia and the Americas has alerted drug enforcement officials. This year, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 53 kg of the drug concealed in export shipments from Tamil Nadu. Earlier, 80 kg of it was found abandoned by a passenger at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. There have also been seizures in Mumbai. Says Rajiv Walia of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): "There has been a lot of concern in Southeast Asian countries. There have been bilateral discussions with India to include the drug on the controlled list here."
Lately, international pressure has led to India taking the first step to check the trafficking of the drug. It has issued a notification that makes it mandatory for exporters of ketamine to obtain a clearance certificate from the office of the commissioner of drugs, Gwalior. "This new notification will prove to be a major impediment to the trafficking of ketamine from India," Dr P. Babu, additional director general, DRI, Chennai, told Outlook. Tamil Nadu has been identified as the hub of the illicit trade in the drug.
Indian authorities are yet to get a fix on how much ketamine is being manufactured in the country. Investigations reveal that much of the drug originates from Maharashtra and Gujarat. According to DRI sources, the directorate has sought information from state governments to get a fix on the leakages that are finding its way into the illicit trade. But going by seizures, it could easily run into several hundreds of kilos being trafficked beyond India's borders annually.
What drives the illegal trade is the easy availability of ketamine and the huge profit margins involved. One kg of the drug costs Rs 35,000 in India but retails at Rs 10 lakh abroad. Little wonder then that India, which bulk-manufactures the drug, is a major source of ketamine.

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