Kathmandu, December 11 The Narcotics Control Bureau has arrested four persons with a huge amount of prescription drugs in a coordinated anti-drug operation over a period of two days. According to NCB, Subash Sahani, 19, of Parsa was found in possession of 600 ampoules of injectable drugs — diazepam, bupreniorphine and phenergan — during a security screening in Balkhu. Based on his confessional statement, police arrested Punam Kumari Sahani, 24, of Bara and Naresh Sahani, 20, of Parsa from Birgunj. Subash and Naresh are siblings. NCB officials said the trio used to work in collaboration with one another to smuggle prescription drugs into Kathmandu. Similarly, NCB arrested Mohammed Tufan, 19, of Bihar, India with 6,000 ampoules of diazepam, buprenorphine and phenergan, and 3,000 tablets of nitrazepam from Mangalbazaar of Lalitpur. He was found smuggling and peddling the prescription drugs under the cloak of balloon vendor in different places of Kathmandu valley. NCB warned that prescription drug abuse was rife in the valley. Traffickers supply drugs to Kathmandu via Nepal-India border. Of late, racketeers have switched to pharmaceutical drugs from hardcore ones such as cocaine, hashish and heroin. Those found in possession of hardcore drugs get life imprisonment, but those convicted of smuggling prescription drugs need to spend only around three years in jail. According to NCB statistics, teenagers and college students account for the largest section of end users of pharmaceutical drugs. Injectable drugs like diazepam and buprenorphine are in high demand among drug users as they are easily available and affordable for users. Prohibited drugs costing around Rs 23 per ‘dose’ across the Indian border is sold for up to Rs 1,500 when brought into Kathmandu. Organised trade and abuse of such drugs, which can only be sold against a doctor’s prescription, continue to rise despite police crackdown on dealers and abusers. According to the survey report ‘Current Hard Drug Users in Nepal, 2013’ published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, most drug abusers were young men and women, and many died of overdose and excessive abuse. While there were altogether 46,309 drug abusers in 2007, the number nearly doubled to 91,534 in 2013, marking a roughly 98 per cent increase in six years.