Two NGO employees were arrested from Vasant Kunj on Monday for selling drugs illegally. The accused, Franklin Lazarus (54) and Manish Kumar (40), were working at the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) and allegedly sold de-addiction drugs, meant to cure drug abusers, in the black market. Police claimed to have seized around 3,800 Buprenorphine tablets from the accused.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ajit Kumar Singla said, “We received information that two members of an NGO were selling drugs prescribed for patients. We intercepted a deal which was about to take place near Vasant Kunj. An FIR has been registered against the two employees under relevant sections of the NDPS Act, 1985.”
During investigation, it was found that Kumar was in-charge of the stock of Buprenorphine, which was to be administered to drug-addicts. Kumar approached Franklin, who worked as a counsellor, offering him a hefty sum to sell the free drug at a higher cost to addicts. Police claimed that they sold the drug for up to Rs 200 per tablet.
The drug is provided free of cost under an AIDS control outreach initiated by the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO). Even though Buprenorphine is provided free of cost by NACO for Oral Substitution Therapy, to avoid use of infected syringes, only a prescribed amount is permitted.
Buprenorphine is a mixed opioid agonist-antagonist, which battles drug addiction by exhibiting mild characteristics of drugs themselves. An SPYM spokesperson said they have terminated the contracts of the two employees. Dr Anju Dhawan, Professor at the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (AIIMS), said, “Buprenorphine runs the risk of addiction if it is not administered in a regulated environment and dosage. Since it also has a behavioural impact, its usage needs to be checked all the more.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines