By Lolano P. Khuvung : Drug menace in Nagaland emerged as a major social evil in the early 1980s a period when increasing drug usage among the Naga youth became agonisingly evident. Along with the abuse of narcotic drugs in the state, drug trafficking also emerged as a major concern for the law enforcement agencies as well as civil society. Due to its close proximity to the ‘Golden Triangle’ Nagaland is primarily used as a conduct route by drug traffickers. SP (Narcotics) Imcharenla says that the bulk of various opium based derivatives like ganja, heroin, brown sugar, opium etc entering Nagaland from Manipur state and Myanmar is meant for destinations other than our state, particularly towards Assam, Bihar and Tamil Nadu and only small quantities circulates in the state. However, it is a matter of serious concern that major quantities of ‘off the shelf’ prescription drugs like morphine, spasmo proxyvon, relipen, diazepam, phynsedel etc are trafficked in Nagalands, mostly from Assam and is widely circulated among drug users in Nagaland. The main entry point of narcotic drugs to Nagaland is from Manipur state through National Highway 39. A sizeable quantity also enters Nagaland through the districts on the porous border with Myanmar, according to the state Narcotics Branch Cell. The following have been identified as routes used for smuggling of narcotic drugs into the state:
1. The main route is National Highway 39 from Khuzama to Dimapur.
2. From Mao Gate to Pfutsero to Zunheboto to Mokokchung to Assam.
3. A second route from Mao Gate goes to Kedima to Chakhabama to Wokha (via Kohima) and then to Dimapur (via Niulands)
4. Mao-Kedima-Viswema-Kohima-Dimapur into Assam.
5. Manipur-Khezhakeno-Pfutsero-Kohima-Zhadima-Niuland into Assam.
Other routes used occasionally are:
2. Myanmar-Longwa-Mon-Tizit-Namsa into Assam.
3. Myanmar-Pongsha-uensang-other districts of Nagalands
4. Myanmar-Mimi-Kiphire-other districts of Nagaland
5. Myanmar-Molhe-Kiphire-other districts of Nagaland
6. Arunachal-Nagaland border
It is evident that the border districts of Nagaland are particularly vulnerable to drug trafficking. Many of the places along the districts bordering Myanmar do not have good road connectivity and thus the routes used are mostly foot tracks in difficult terrain. Narcotic drugs like heroin which can be carried in small quantities and have very high value in the drug market are smuggled through these foot tracks and then taken to onward destinations through road transport from place where there is proper road connectivity.
Controlling drug trafficking is not the problem of the law enforcing agencies only. A multi-sectoral approach involving the police, NGOs, village councils, students bodies, church and other civil societies should join hands and fight the drugs menace, before it is too late. It is a well known fact pharmaceutical drugs like morphine, relipen, diazepam and most commonly cough syrups are sold in some pharmacies over the counter, even without doctors prescription. Think twice before you allow yourself to be used as drug courier as you become an instrument of destroying the lives of others.
In Philippines 24 Filipinos have been sentenced to death for drug trafficking in China, 12 were meted a life sentence and 11 received prison terms of 15-16 years since January 2009. Hopefully the need to develop the states drug policy, recommended at the consultation workshop, marketing the observation of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, if implemented will go a long way in addressing the issue in a more stringent and effective manner.
(With inputs from SP Narcotics Branch)