Abuse of Opium Available in Various Ayurvedic Herbal Dosage Forms in Punjab, Pakistan

Nawaz, Abdul Rauf ; Zafar, Qasim ; Mubasher, Muhammad ; Sarwar, Mohammad ; Tahir, Mohammad Ashraf (2015-11-08)

Working Paper

Opium is commonly abused drug in Pakistan that is obtained from plant Papaver somniferum L. It is a thick gummy, brown substance that contains different alkaloids among which morphine, codeine, thebaine have pronounced psychotropic effects due to which it is abused. Normally Opium is abused orally as raw opium. However other dosage forms e.g., Tablets, Capsules, Syrups, and Powders have been developed by drug abusers. Hence a study was conducted at Narcotics Unit in Punjab Forensic Science Agency to identify the trend of abuse of opium in different dosage forms available in Punjab, Pakistan. Suspected opium samples were received from different submitting agencies and were analyzed by presumptive testing technique using color tests and were confirmed by confirmatory technique using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. Opium alkaloids namely Morphine, Codeine, Thebaine, Papaverine, and Noscapine were identified in suspected dosage forms by comparison with Reference Standards. Hence it was concluded that opium is also abused in the form of different Ayurvedic herbal dosage forms to cheat Law Enforcement Agencies.

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