A new type of drug called ‘Yaba’ is said to have made an entry into the state, and is reportedly becoming largely popular among college students.
Experts say the drug has more lethal effects on the users than opioids drugs that are available today in the state.
‘Yaba’ otherwise known as the ‘madness drug Nazi speed’ or ‘crazy medicine,’ belongs to Amphetamine Type Substance (ATS), a powerful and addictive stimulant group of drugs with lots of street names depending on cities and circle of drug users. It is most popularly known as ‘World is Yours’ (WY).
The drug comes in loose normal plastic packaging in small tablet form. They are produced in different colours and shapes.
Ketholelie Angami, President, Access to Rights and Knowledge (ARK) Foundation said the availability of the new drug is reportedly increasing, with the numbers of users also gradually growing in Dimapur, Kohima and Tuensang.
A former drug user himself, Angami said amphetamine is a group of drugs which is more dangerous than the drugs that are available as of now i.e. opioids. Pointing out some effects of the drug, he said, the drug stimulates the entire system and users will never get tired, can go on without sleep for days and will be in a hyperactive mode.
On the other hand, he added that once a body reaches a certain level of exhaustion, the brain may shut down. Angami also informed that it is more difficult to treat ‘Yaba’ users in terms of detoxification and rehabilitation.
A 39 year-old who uses both Yaba and heroin, and currently under Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) in Kohima, described the effects of the drug by stating that the drug is addictive and difficult to give up as it delivers a euphoric sensation. The user feels lightweight, stress free, active and doesn’t feel the need to either sleep or eat.
He was introduced to the drug a year ago through friends. The recovering user further revealed that the drug is available in the black market and can be procured through middlemen. Many youngsters, he said are using the drug. Currently undergoing OST to give up drug addiction, he advised youngsters not to do drugs of any kind, cautioning that they would eventually regret it.
Dr. Nuvotso Khesoh, Senior Psychiatrist, NHAK meanwhile informed that amphetamine is used in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which increases the sense of well-being, induces elation, euphoria, improves attention and also decreases fatigue.
However, he pointed out that the side effects include dangers of heart attack, hypertension, convulsion, coma and even death. Psychologically, Dr Khesoh said that it causes restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance and confusion.
Another psychiatrist at the State Mental Health Institute, Dr. Along explained that stimulant drugs tend to give a false sense of security of being stronger, energetic, euphoric and increases of self-esteem. These types of drug users can endure heavy physical work; go on without sleep for long periods and also decreases the need for appetite. In the long run however, he cautioned that users can develop schizophrenia and paranoia.
Nagas have a long history of battling with drug abuse since the early 1980s and the proximity to the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Burma and Myanmar) has facilitated illicit trafficking and availability of drugs in the state.
This, in due course of time, has given rise to drug addiction among the youths who since then have become addicted to various types of drugs including heroin, cocaine, cannabis, marijuana, diazepam, codeine, SP, RP etc.
In July, the Government Railway Police (GRP) Guwahati arrested two women and a man from the Rajdhani Express train and seized 175 small pouches containing 34,100 Yaba tablets from their possession.
According to the police, they were moving from Dimapur to Alipurduar, West Bengal for further delivery of the consignment to Bangladesh.
In another incident, the combined team of43 Assam Rifles, Moreh Police and Commando seized 80,000 Yaba tablets worth Rs 2.4 crores near New Champhai village on July 31.
When enquired, an official from the Excise department said though he is not sure of the availability of the drug in the state, while intelligence sources informed that given Nagaland’s location, smugglers use it as a transit point.
A meme widely circulated on social media which reads ‘A 19-year-old college student can find a drug dealer but our police can’t,’ speaks volume on how drugs are making an entry into the state.