NDPS: Investigation started on Narcotic Abuse of Common Medications

The NDPS Act strictly regulates the manufacture, distribution, and possession of controlled substances.

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NDPS Act Narcotic drugs

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by The Health Master

NDPS

The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) in India has raised a red flag on ten medications suspected of widespread misuse as NDPS.

This move could significantly impact the availability and prescription practices for these drugs, commonly used for pain management and neurological conditions.

Medications Under Scrutiny

The DoP seeks data on the following medications:

  • Fentanyl & Norfentanyl: Powerful synthetic opioids used for severe pain management.
  • Zopiclone & Zolpidem: Prescription sleep medications.
  • Tapentadol: A pain medication with opioid-like properties.
  • Naloxone: An opioid overdose reversal drug.
  • Pregabalin: A medication for nerve pain and epilepsy, also misused for intoxication.
  • Xylazine: A veterinary sedative increasingly diverted for human use.
  • Piperidine & Ibloc Piperidine (Fentanyl Analogues): Synthetic variations of Fentanyl with similar potency.

Cause for Concern:

These medications, though crucial for legitimate medical purposes, can be abused due to their psychoactive effects.

The DoP aims to assess the extent of misuse and potentially categorize them under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) – similar to regulations in Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

The NDPS Act and Drug Scheduling

The NDPS Act strictly regulates the manufacture, distribution, and possession of controlled substances.

Bringing these medications under the NDPS could significantly impact their availability and potentially increase the burden on healthcare providers and patients who rely on them for legitimate medical needs.

Current Status:

  • Fentanyl: Currently listed under the NDPS Act due to its high abuse potential.
  • Tapentadol: Under surveillance for potential inclusion in the NDPS schedule.
  • Pregabalin: Not currently listed under controlled substances, but misuse for intoxication has been reported.

Balancing Legitimate Use with Curbing Abuse

Devesh Malladi, Chairman, NDPS Committee at IDMA, raises crucial concerns:

  • Limited Abuse: NCB data suggests drug abuse from these medications is less than 0.5% of legitimate use.
  • Potential Disruption: NDPS classification could lead to stricter regulations, impacting access for legitimate patients.
  • Focus on Demand Reduction: Malladi emphasizes the need for targeted interventions to address the root causes of drug abuse.

The Path Forward:

While details remain unclear, the DoP’s investigation highlights the ongoing struggle to balance access to essential medications with curbing prescription drug abuse.

Potential solutions include:

  • Active Surveillance: Utilize technology like GST and IT infrastructure to monitor potential diversion.
  • Prescription Monitoring Programs: Track prescription trends and identify potential misuse patterns.
  • Demand Reduction Strategies: Address the underlying factors that contribute to drug abuse.

This situation necessitates a comprehensive approach that addresses the issue of drug abuse without hindering legitimate medical care.

With further investigation and stakeholder collaboration, the DoP can hopefully develop effective solutions to safeguard public health.

Disclaimer: This article contains information derived from the source mentioned below. Our team utilized an AI language model to rewrite and present the news or article in a unique format.

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