ECommerce Industry Encouraging Drug Abuse In India: NCB
Checking and shopping online has become our way of life now. We check our favourite ecommerce website before going shopping and also check visit the popular online marketplaces if we don’t find what we need offline. We have now started buying everything online. Be it consumer durables, commodities, gadgets, automobiles, luxury yachts, accessories, fitness equipment, apparels, groceries, and even medicines.
Now, while shopping online adds to our comfort as we don’t even have to leave our home, it is also being abused by the bad elements of the society. According to NCB (Narcotics Control Bureau), the increasing number of online pharmacies in the country have led to the easy availability of drugs and their abuse.
NCB in its 2015 Annual Report stated that abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in India has assumed “serious proportions” recently, and the problem is more rampant in the Northeast and Northwest regions.
A lot of US and Europe-based illegal websites (online pharmacies) selling prescription drugs have come into existence in the recent times. These pharmacies sell prescription medicines over the internet without any regulation.
These online pharmacies transfer the order from Indian customers to its agents in the country, who then procure these medicines from any source (whether legitimate or illegitimate) and dispatch them to the customers via mail or courier.
“These online pharmacies transmit orders from paying customers to agents in India, who then procure the medicines from either legitimate or illegitimate sources before dispatching them to customers by mail and courier,” said NCB.
NCB also mentions that it is impossible for the authorities to scan each and every international parcel and that’s why a large number of such posts containing illegal consignment of drugs passes undetected into the country.
“Internet pharmacies are usually highly vulnerable and keep the identity of organizers tightly veiled. In India, nevertheless, the NCB either on its own or in coordination with the outside agencies has been making at least one bust every year over the years,” the report adds.
Misconception About Pharma Drugs & Their Abuse
Some of the highly abused pharmaceutical drugs are buprenorphine, codeine-based cough syrups, alprazolam, diazepam and other sedatives.
Many also have a wrong belief that these drugs are less harmful than the hard-core drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc. which is not true. These drugs are also addictive and can have injurious effects on health.
“However, this is a misconception, since these can be addictive and also have a debilitating effect on health. Pharmaceutical preparations having narcotic/psychotropic substances are under the purview of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act and the NDPS Act in India,” said NCB.
Also, the fact that these are easily available over-the-counter is a major factor in encouraging their misuse.
The government needs to do something about it or the drug abuse problem will spoil the future of India. I know that it is not going to be easy but the authorities need to take some solid steps and regulate these online pharmacies.