THE CHARACTER of Walter White from the popular tele-series Breaking Bad, a high-school chemistry professor who goes rogue and becomes a meth supplier, may not be too far from reality after all. Agencies like the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the central agency, and the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) that probe cases of illegal drug and narcotics use have several professors under their scanner for allegedly supplying synthetic drugs like meth to college students. Most of these professors have a background in chemistry, as per sources.
“During investigations it has come to light that students from several educational institutes, mainly colleges located in western Indian states like Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat have been getting their supply of synthetic drugs like methamphetamine from their college professors,” a senior officer told The Indian Express. “This is a surprising and disturbing trend that we learnt about during interrogation of several persons related to the trade,” the officer added.
As per sources, agencies involved in fighting the drug trade have been keeping a close eye on this network that has formed around educational institutions.
“For professors it becomes far more easier since they already have a direct line of communication with these students, who form a major chunk of the consumers. All they have to do is find out who amongst them is involved in taking drugs. Most of these are professors with a chemistry background,” the officer said, adding, “Our investigations are in progress and depending on the evidence we get at hand, we could make some arrests.”
The officer said that recently there has been a trend of Drug Trade Organisations (DTOs) using ‘freelance chemists’ to cook meth to avoid being tracked down by anti-narcotics officials.
“Hence there has been a demand for people from a chemistry background who can help cook the drug as well. Everything else like managing basic supplies and the place to cook is handled by other members of the DTO’s. We are checking if these professors are involved in cooking meth as well,” the officer said.
An officer said that while organic narcotics, occurring naturally, like charas and ganja have always been in demand, the last few years have seen a significant rise in demand of synthetic or man-made drugs.
“This is a worrying trend because synthetic drugs can cause much more damage of a permanent nature than organic drugs,” an officer said.
“Meth has been in high demand over the past few years since it is much cheaper and easily available than semi-synthetic drugs like cocaine,” he added.
Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine.
It takes the form of a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected. It leads to states of intense euphoria. The euphoria is however followed by a ‘crash’ where the user goes through a phase of extreme low.