A highly potent analgesic agent used to relieve pains of cancer patients is now being widely consumed as narcotics in the country.
Students of colleges and universities are mostly addicted to the drug called O-Morphon of oxymorphone group. Like psychedelic drug LSD, it produces effects like intensified thoughts, emotions and sensory perception, said police.
Following their arrest, detectives seized 13,000 O-Morphon tablets from Mitford area in Old Dhaka and a Sundarban Courier Service office in Dhanmondi in the capital on Monday.
AKM Hafiz Akhter, additional commissioner (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, revealed this at a press briefing at the DMP Media Centre on Tuesday.
He said the information gleaned from the arrestees helped the Detective Branch (Lalbagh Detective) seize the tablets, Hafiz said.
“O-Morphon is a medicine used for relieving serious pains on one hand, it’s an illegal drug under the law of Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) on the other hand,” he said.
Only Ziska Pharmaceuticals Ltd has the permission to manufacture the drug in the country, the DB official said, adding that it can only sell the medicine among the drug stores or hospitals having licences to sell it.
“No authorised shops or hospitals can sell the medicine without physician prescriptions. But now, it’s a matter of concern that the risky tablet is being widely sold at different drug stores having no licences,” he said.
“We’ve come to known that Ziska manufactured 5 lakh O-Morphon tablets in the last five months and sold those in 15 districts,” Hafiz said.
According to the DB officer, 120 drug stores and hospitals have licences across the country to sell the drug. Of them, Barishal alone accounts for 50 licences with 20 drug stores being on Barishal Hospital Road.
Some 27 drug stores and hospitals in the capital took the licences while 17 in Khulna and five in Rajshahi.
The price of a packet containing 20 tablets is Tk 400, but it is being sold from Tk 2,500-Tk 3,000 among the addicts.
The tablets are mixed with syrup or soft drinks and then taken.
The DB officer said it is like dangerous drug LSD. The students of colleges and universities are mostly addicted to O-Morphon.
In response to a question, he said, “If we find any negligence of Ziska Pharmaceuticals Ltd, we’ll take action against it.”