Mumbai: Residents of the Baiganwadi in Govandi are crying hoarse over the menace of empty cough syrup bottles liberally strewn around their neighbourhood by drug addicts.
An enormous number of Corex bottles, medically known as codeine phosphate, are found lying on the rooftops, lanes and the foot overbridge near the Baiganwadi Junction.
Corex- a scheduled drug as per the NDPS Act
At first it looked like a singular problem to the residents, but they felt a larger issue at play as the number of bottles started piling up.
According to the police, Corex is a scheduled drug as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, and thus its usage, possession and sale as a ‘narcotic’ or without a doctor’s prescription are punishable. It is known that continuous use of this drug can lead to several serious ailments, including mental health and liver and kidney-related problems.
A resident said on condition of anonymity, “The problem has been dogging our residential societies for some months now. The rooftop of my shop, which is also my house, is full of these empty bottles. Earlier, the source was unknown but now we know that young boys sit on the stairs of the FoB and consume cough syrup as an alternative to other addictive substances.” He added that women and girls from the neighbourhood are now worried about going out after dark.
Another resident said, “At first, we thought it was just a medicine. After talking to the police we found out that it’s used as an addictive substance. If it’s a drug, and since they are consuming so many at once, it is dangerous for children and women to venture out – we really can’t say what the drug addicts might do.”
Letters & tweets alerted local MLA
Govandi Citizens, a citizen welfare forum from the area, through letters and tweets alerted the local MLA to take the matter seriously. “These are youngsters in the 14-20 age group. If they have access to this dangerous drug, it means there is enough supply. The police should stop the supply and find the root cause. So many tenants – commercial shops, scrap owners – have complained to us about it; the police should act on it,” said a member of the forum.
Meanwhile, The Free Press Journal found out that a 100ml Corex bottle costs Rs132. “The demand for Corex has increased as it’s one of the cheapest drugs compared to others like marijuana (ganja) or cannabis (charas). When there is scarcity, the prices go up to Rs250 per bottle,” said a source.
Senior Police Inspector from Shivaji Nagar Arjun Rajane said, “We are taking action against drug peddlers almost every day. Even a few days ago we nabbed two dealers supplying and selling mephedrone (MD) at the Baiganwadi Junction. At this point, we can say that we have taken drastic action against several peddlers, which is why the supply is low. However, the demand continues to remain high. Action against Corex sellers and buyers is also underway.”