NCB steps up surveillance of drug stores

A joint team of Narcotics Control Bureau and Department of Drug Administration raided Lazimpat-based Sandesh Pharmacy and arrested its owner Buddha Ratna Bajracharya for allegedly selling controlled drugs without doctors’ prescription yesterday.

The team also confiscated 80 tablets of nitravet from the drug store. NCB arrested Bishwanath Khatri, 38, from Chhetrapati with 410 tablets of controlled pharmaceutical drugs on the basis of statement given by Bajracharya. According to NCB, Khatri used to supply psychoactive drugs to Bajracharya targetting drug abusers.

NCB officials said the anti-drug agency of Nepal Police had stepped up surveillance of suspected pharmacies in Kathmandu Valley. As per the laws, pharmacies are required to maintain an inventory of such drugs and sell them only against a doctor’s prescription.

Police have found that abuse of pharmaceutical drugs is rife among youths and teenagers. Diazepam, buprinorphin and nitravet are the most-consumed banned drugs and their demand is higher in the capital because they cost far less than hashish and heroin and are easily available. More than 3,000 drug stores are operating in the valley, according to NCB.

Organised trade of such drugs is on the rise despite police crackdown on dealers and users. Of late, racketeers have been found to have switched to pharmaceutical drugs from hardcore ones such as cocaine, hashish and heroin. Those found in possession of hardcore drugs get life imprisonment, along with property attachment. But those convicted of smuggling pharmaceutical drugs need to spend only around three years in jail.