Home > Europe, India, Social Trends, USA > Europe’s new headache – Designer Drugs

Europe’s new headache – Designer Drugs


Though India is the world’s oldest and largest producer of drugs, Indian society does not have an drug-addiction problem. Wonder why?

A still from Apocalypse Now - a film full of surreal images like this.

A still from Apocalypse Now – a film full of surreal images like this.

European countries are scrambling to crack down. The U.K., Sweden and Germany all recently banned one of the most popular drugs, mephedrone, or Meow Meow, which first appeared in 2007. The U.K. last week announced a ban on naphyrone, or NRG-1, which surfaced after the mephedrone ban.

But authorities are having a hard time keeping up with all the new concoctions. As soon as one is banned, another appears, they say. Last year, 24 new “psychoactive substances” were identified in Europe, almost double the number reported in 2008, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, which keeps European Union policy makers informed on the state of drug use.

European authorities say some of the drugs are cooked up in China, where they say lax control of chemicals makes it easier for manufacturers to obtain the raw ingredients. (via Designer Drugs Baffle Europe – WSJ.com).

Guns and crime

Gun ownership has been suspected behind the crime rates in the US. But the most recent argument against this theory is the spate of bank robberies – which dilutes this argument – at least partly. Estimates of the national stock of guns in the US varies between 40 million to 50 million households which own 200 million guns.

India nukes the gun-control logic! (Click for larger image.).

India nukes the gun-control logic! (Click for larger image.).

India is, in many ways, different. Recent estimates show that India is the second largest gun owning population in the world – with 4.6 crores (46 million) guns. One report states that UP alone has 900,000 licensed fire-arm holders and 1,400 arms dealers. Another report estimates more than 3 lakh illegal firearms in New Delhi alone.

Behind every great fortune …

In modern times, though India is a power in computing industry, India is not a big player in spamming or in software virus. In August 2008, there was a hoax story, which alleged that an Indian hacker, had broken into a credit card database – and sold to the European underworld – and some ‘experts’ feared that this would spark of a crime wave across Europe.

Like software, India has a large domestic, industrial base in advanced pharmaceuticals. With pharma firms exports to the developing world and with subsidiaries in the Western world, Indian pharma companies have posed a threat to Western pharma firms. The Western pharma industry’s dependence on ever-greening their patents for continued prosperity has hit a wall with the growth in Indian challenge.

How come Indian expertise in pharma manufacturing not getting diverted to ‘designer-drugs’?

How is it that Indian guns don’t kill, Indian software experts don’t spread malware and Indians pharma-engineers don’t lead in narcotics production?

There is crime

The largest prison population in the world is in USA, now at 2 million. The US has more people in prison than the totalitarian regimes of Russia or China. USA also has one of the highest crime rates in the world.

The current status of Indian criminal system is a study in contrast. India, with a population of 110 crores (1100 million) has a prison population of 2 lakhs (0.2 million). The Indian National Human Rights Commission gives a figure of 3.5 lakhs as the prison population – including convicts and those who are undergoing trial. The UK Home Office survey of World Prison Population estimates Indian prison population at 2.5 lakhs.

The ‘Desert Bloc’ societies are great believers in the death sentence. On the other, year after year, India has had the lowest numbers of death sentences – and executions. For instance, the ‘Grand Debate’ in the US of A, is as schizophrenic as it can get.

With less than 25 people per 100,000 in prison India has the world’s lowest imprisonment rate. Cynics may snigger at India’s ‘inefficient’ police or the slow court procedures as the cause for this low prison population. That can only mean criminals are at large and India must, therefore have the highest crime rate – which is not true. India has low or average crime rates – based on category.

All the indices …

All the 5 indices (below) create a bias for a lawless Indian society and rampant crime. With these five indices, namely: –

  1. Police to population ratio (‘increase police force’).
  2. Prison population (‘put more criminals behind bars’)
  3. Capital punishment (‘kill enough criminals to instill fear’)
  4. Poverty (‘it is poverty which the root of all crime’)
  5. Gun ownership (‘more guns means more crime’)

against a stable social system, how does India manage low-to-average crime rates.

How can India have such a low prison population, with a poor police-to-population ratio and a crime rate which is not above the average – in spite of a large civilian gun population.

A wrong question can only get you the wrong answers! Guns are the subject.

A wrong question can only get you the wrong answers! Guns are the subject.

When the State commissions crimes!

Behind every great fortune there is a crime – Honoré de Balzac.

For many centuries, piracy, slavery, were encouraged, licensed by European States.

Balzac’s statement only be understood with that background. Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. A book examines this phenomenon tangentially – when a ‘licensed’ fighter goes ‘private’! In Asia. Like Britons did in India.

Remember O’Dyer and O’Dwyer!


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  1. A fan of your blog
    August 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Calling someone’s baby ugly does not help. Being proud of one’s heritage is one thing, and being dismissive of others’ achievement is another. Other cultures and nations have achieved a lot in their own areas. I have already told you about pharmaceuticals. India has the advantage in low cost manufacturing, but does very poorly in drug development. Trying to spin this any other way makes a dent in the credibility of your claims.

    All the crime and gun ownership statistics are nonsense. So what if USA has more people in its jails than any other country? How does that give you a moral superiority? Or are we going to stoop so low as to finding glee in others’ misery? This moral argument stinks. Half of Indian parliamentarians are criminals. They have looted the nation to no end. Monies many times over India’s GDP are stashed away in Swiss banks. Where is the moral superiorty in that? How do these numbers account in the criminal statistics? All these statistics are humbug.

    I am proud to be Indian and am proud of my rich heritage. However, I know India has its own problems and debauchery. I am open minded to give credit to others where it is due. There are many things wrong with India. I am happy with the progress India is making and hopeful that will become an economic superpower and get rid of its poverty. I am angry with the colonialists for abusing and pillaging my country. But that anger and resentment does not serve any purpose. Its time to understand that the rules of the game have changed and its time to adapt to the new game and try to win it. Despite the governance and bureaucracy issues, Indian private sector businesses are doing a phenomenal job around the world. That by it itself is worth rejoicing over.

  2. August 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Interesting response … Touched a raw nerve … did I?

    1. I have posted something about Western ‘innovation’ in the field of pharmaceuticals. You might find it rather ‘revealing’ – with more than 20 links.

    2. On all other points in your response, there are posts that deal with the subject – including the famous ‘criminal’ in Indian Parliaments.

    Take a 2ndlook!

  3. A fan of your blog
    August 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Touch a raw nerve? Ha! The data speaks for itself. You think you are more Indian than I am?? Rather than wallowing in rhetoric, I prefer to call a spade a spade.

    1. I will address your western innovation in the appropriate post.
    2. Ok, so you have a response to criminals in parliament. I will look it up and post there as well.

    Let me ask you this: Is India perfect? Where did the industrial revolution happen? Did Indians develop the mobile phone? Did we develop the internet? Did we develop the modern airplane? My point is India is great, but don’t belittle others and their achievements.

    If the West made progress, it was becasue of slaves. If India makes progress, we make it because we are wise men with lots of knowledge from the vedas. What logic!

    Get off your moral high horse, Anuraag. Open your eyes to the world. Calling someone’s baby ugly does not make ours any better. Last time I checked, we were a poor nation with lots of problems of our own to take care of. We have poverty, education, sanity, corruption and many other issues and challenges. Be realistic. I am proud to be Indian, but I am not blind to others’ achievements. Every nation has its problems. So does America and Europe. And India and China. I love the fact that you highlight India’s achievements, its rich heritage and culture and knowledge. Try to focus on our positives. Pointing out others’ negatives means loss of credibility of your claims of our greatness. Please grow up.

  4. Ekalavyan Acharayan
    August 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    India is in a peculiar situation. You cannot compare US or other western countries to India, its like comparing Oranges and Apples. They have different history and are at different points in their own natural growth.
    1000 years ago, had India not being inundated with islamic attacks, things would have been different. We probably would have caught on the imperialist bug. But that was not to be… Our lazy kings opted to take Britishers help in most cases and let them fight and thus continue to live in a lap of luxury. In the end, Britishers ended up controlling the whole country.
    So, the net result was, we lost the capital and supplied raw materials which fuelled industrial revolution in west. India completely missed the bus! Ignoring the destruction to lives and property, the world wars helped them to leapfrog in military technologies. India completely missed that bus too..!!
    After Britishers left, we left with almost negligible industrial base, or scientific base. Trade was still in tatters.. and of course, west made sure that India did not rise up easily.. probably because of our association with Soviet and NAM. Then the other technological progress, we were playing catch up all the while.. still doing it.. but we are getting closer and that is making them nervous. We missed various buses after that.. for ex: electronics, but we did catch one bus.. ie. Y2K and then IT. Thank God!!
    It took India 50 years to develop infrastructure, hold a nation of such wide diversity together, that it amazes them we have come so far…

    So, to ask did India do that? develop that? etc. is utter meaningless!! We did what was required to survive the initial vulnerable years in our newly young nation.

    The fact that we have less crime has nothing to do with gun/police etc. Its to do with culture – for ex. the belief in karma! What do you, will come back?
    I agree not all the criminals are behind bars, neither it is in any country in the world. But generally I believe that people in western nations especially US are much more trigger happy and hence if you don’t lock up.. it gets worse! They do what is needed for their survival! Simple!

  5. July 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm

  6. Satya
    July 25, 2012 at 6:27 am

    “How is it that Indian guns don’t kill, Indian software experts don’t spread malware and Indians pharma-engineers don’t lead in narcotics production?”

    May I add to this “Bollywood being the largest film producer in the World does not contribute to World Pornography Industry!!”

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