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4000 bottles of Codeine Phosphate seized; This weak opioid is a menace


New Delhi, July 25: Opioids are one of the most addictive chemicals known to mankind, but these chemicals also have medicinal uses. Most strong opioids like morphine are used as painkillers and are really needed when other classes of painkillers fail.

Opiods and the action these chemicals have on brain make them highly addictive. Heroin is one of the most notorious narcotics known to destroy lives because once a person gets hooked to heroin, it is hard to come out of it, and chances of relapse are high.

A file photo (Image courtesy-ANI/Twitter)

Of the same chemical class is Codeine, which is far weaker opiod compared to Morphine, but still addictive. Codeine is used in cough syrups and is really beneficial in controlling cough when used in the way prescribed. But,the sale of Codeine Cough syrups have been strictly controlled ever since it emerged that youth across the nation, mainly in Punjab, were using it to get intoxicated.

Three suspected drug peddlers were arrested and 4000 bottles of Codeine Phosphate, a chemical derived from opium, were recovered from them in Samba district on July 25. The bottles of the psychotropic drug used in cough syrups were being transported in a truck from Punjab to Jammu and the vehicle was intercepted by the police at Samba chowk, they said.

Three persons-- Zubair Ahmad Bhat, Hashim Rasool and Aqib Ahmed, residents of Baramulla district were arrested and a case was registered against them, they added. Bhat was driving the truck owned by Rasool, officials said, as per PTI reports.

Addiction to Codeine-based cough syrups is a big menace:

The addiction to Codeine-based cough syrups is a serious problem and Punjab and the North East are probably two regions which have suffered most due to it. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had asked the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to "substantially reduce" the availability of codeine-based cough syrups, saying they are being used as narcotic drugs.

Phensydyl, a brand of Codeine syrup, is smuggled to Bangladesh and BSF often catches smugglers trying to sneak it across the border. The BSF has seized over 700,000 bottles of Phensedyl worth about Rs. 7 crore in the last four years.

[3,045 bottles of Phensedyl seized near border: Why Codeine-based cough syrups are banned?]

Although Codeine-based cough syrups are effective in suppressing cough and cold, their misuse has emerged as a major problem. The active ingredient Codeine is a narcotic belonging to a class of chemicals called opioids. Opioids can be highly addictive when taken in more than recommended quantities and for a prolonged period. It needs to be noted that contraband substance Heroin is also an opioid.

Codeine, a much weaker opioid when compared to Heroin or Morphine, can still be habit forming because of its calming effects and ability to induce a false sense of euphoria. When the court banned them, it was felt that their ill-effects far outweighed the benefits they offer. In many countries, painkillers which contain Codeine and paracetamol are available over-the-counter.

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