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Cobra venom drug popular on Delhi party scene

Endangered species threatened as revellers seek new high from dropping a pinch of powder known as K-72 or K-76 into their drinks

  • IANS
  • Published: 00:00 February 17, 2012
  • Gulf News

Day in pictures
  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Snake handler holds up an Indian baby cobra hatchling after it emerged from an egg. A drug prepared from cobra venom is becoming popular in Delhi, giving party-goers a new high, narcotics officials say. Image for illustrative purposes only.

New Delhi:  A drug prepared from cobra venom is becoming popular in Delhi, giving party-goers a new high, narcotics officials say.

"The sale of drugs which have cobra venom is increasing at rave parties and in discos," a senior officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said on condition of anonymity.

"These drugs enhance sensation and boost energy so that revellers can dance for longer hours.

"The sales have increased in Delhi and NCR [national capital region] and are consumed at hushed-up parties."

Delhi Police on Monday night seized half-a-litre of venom extracted from cobras and other reptiles, which are classified as highly endangered species under the Wildlife Act.

The raid, at Anand Vihar inter-state bus terminus in east Delhi, was conducted following a tip-off from People for Animals (PFA), an animal welfare organisation.

"Police seized five cobras just two days before Valentine's Day," Sourabh Gupta, a wildlife activist with PFA, said.

"Similar seizures were conducted before Diwali and New Year. The drugs are commonly used in Delhi and NCR; many are commonly called K-72 and K-76."

He added that half-a-litre of venom costs millions of rupees in the international market.

To extract that amount, traffickers would have killed as many as 100 cobras in violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Indian Wildlife Act.

The venom is processed into a powder, a pinch of which is used in a drink.

"Due to their dwindling numbers, cobras, which were on Schedule IV in 2006, are now placed on Schedule I of the act, thus according them very high protection," Gupta said.

"But they are still being widely traded."

According to officials, apart from the deadly K-72 and K-76, drugs like cocaine, ephedrine, ecstasy, rohypnol and LSD, all of which are labelled party drugs, see a 5 to 10 per cent spike in sales before any festive occasion.

While the party drugs come at a price of Rs2,000-Rs5,000 (Dh150-Dh370) per pill, a pinch of K-72 or K-76 costs Rs20,000-Rs25,000.

Delhi Police said the drug scene in the capital is not as serious as in cities like Mumbai.

"Use of party drugs by youths in Delhi is much less than in Mumbai and other metros," narcotics officer Sanjay Bhatia said.

Comments (2)

  1. Added 17:29 February 17, 2012

    so, any animals which poses a potential threat to humans should be eradicated from nature? It is thinking like this that caused the extinction of so many species before vipers. Vipers are living fossils, they have lived on this planet millions of years before Humans. Like any species, vipers and are an important link in the circle of life, even for humans. All species of this planet co-exist in a delicate balance, yet humans managed to disrupt and permanently damage this order of life in just over a century, in most cases, for the sheer greed and fun of it! No Earthly species has the exclusive right of existence; none can exist on its own. It is the responsibility of Humans as the most dominant and powerful life form on Earth to protect its hosting planet and all species that inhabit it.

    Beno Saradzic, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:22 February 17, 2012

    Drug trafficking and use have, of course, to be dealt with sternly. But why you want to protect and conserve all the venomous cobras and other snakes? If it is for academic purposes, yes, keep a few in captivity. The so called animal lovers should be more concerned about thousands of poor villagers who die of snake bite in India every year!

    Mathew Philip, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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