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Hooch tragedy points to rampant prescription drug abuse

The recent toxic liquor tragedy killing 33 persons in Cuttack and Khurda districts has brought to the spotlight at least eight types of medicines being misused by addicts in various parts of the state.

The latest deaths occurred due to methyl alcohol in Epee-Carm Carminative and concentrated Cinnamon water. That may be a routine misuse going horribly wrong, because ethyl alcohol got replaced by methyl alcohol and the latter is poisonous.

Doctors associated with de-addiction medication said abuse of cough syrups (codeine), anti-depressants, sleeping tablets, inhalants, anti-spasmodic, tonics, Opioid pain relievers and stimulants for intoxication is widely prevalent in the state.

Dr Surjeet Sahoo, a psychiatrist and de-addiction specialist, said cough syrups are perhaps the most widely used intoxicants by addicts. “We get lots of teenaged patients addicted to cough syrups.


The Expert’s Thought: Gujarat had banned alcohol consumption since 1961 as a homage to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. However bootlegged alcohol, known as Hooch, is widely available, allegedly under the patronage of the local police. Gujarat has witnessed several occasions of alcohol poisoning, claiming the lives of more than 400 people after the ban was enforced.

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