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Missing De-Addiction Pills In Punjab Circulating Among Party-Goers In NCR

The Food and Drug Administration department of the Punjab government gathered the data on the number of buprenorphine tablets procured and dispensed by the private de-addiction centres between January and November 2019.

The pills that went missing at the time are very likely still in circulation among the youth in Delhi, Gurugram, and other NCR districts. (Representational Image)

Chandigarh: De-addiction tablets called buprenorphine have become an addiction among party-goers in the National Capital Region (NCR). This de-addiction drug is also being abused in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. But how did this drug which falls under schedule H (a prescription drug which is not available over the counter) become so easily available?

According to sources, the story began in 2019 when five crore buprenorphine pills used for addiction treatment went stolen from several private de-addiction centres in Punjab. These de-addiction medications went missing from roughly two dozen private de-addiction centres in the state.

8 Cr De-Addiction Pills Procured, 5 Cr Went Missing

Sources said that the Food and Drug Administration department of the Punjab government gathered the data on the number of buprenorphine tablets procured and dispensed by the private de-addiction centres between January and November 2019. The agency found that more than eight crore tablets of buprenorphine were procured by private de-addiction centres, however, only three crore tablets were sold. The remaining five crore tablets went missing.

According to sources, the pills that went missing at the time are very likely still in circulation among the youth in Delhi, Gurugram, and other NCR districts, as well as in Kullu and Manali in Himachal. It is primarily supplied from Punjab for as little as Rs 50 per bill, and it is marketed for between Rs 100 and Rs 200 in Gurugram and other districts of the NCR.

In Punjab Also, De-Addiction Pills Have Become An Addiction

In Punjab also, it is being abused by those who initially started taking it to get rid of one addiction and got hooked to this in place of the other substance they were already using. In Punjab alone, 65,000 addicts who are under treatment at various de-addiction centres are also now hooked to buprenorphine. This is around 15 per cent of the total addicts in the state.

Dr Sandeep Bhola, a technical head of mental health and de-addiction in Punjab said, the possibility of it being diverted, maybe, from private de-addiction centres remains but not through government de-addiction centres where these are given after due prescription only.  

Kapil Sharma, assistant director at State Forensic Science Laboratory Junga, Shimla however confirmed that based on the analysis of consignments of buprenorphine seized in Himachal one can safely say it is being used by addicts in Himachal as well.”

What Is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is an opioid which is used to treat acute pain, chronic pain and for the treatment of substance abuse. It is given for de-addiction but since it falls under the narcotic drug category, increased use of the tablet for long period and increasing the dosage without a doctor’s prescription means one can get hooked to it as well and thus become an addict to this very drug. 

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