Understanding Drugs and Substances under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act)

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  • Last Updated on 28 August, 2021

Table of Content:

1. Introduction to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

2. Definitions

2.1 Narcotic Drug

2.2 Essential Narcotic Drug

3. Psychotropic Substance

3.1 New Additions to the list of Psychotropic Substances

3.2 Further, vide S.O. 1275(E) dated 23.3.2021, the following stands added to the list of psychotropic substances

Refer to Taxmann's Law Relating to Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances, which is a simple version of practical aspects of implementing the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) by the enforcement officers based on up-to-date Judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, High Courts & Trial Courts. It also features a step-by-step practical guide for enforcement officers to comply with the legal requirements in each step of the proceedings. Lastly, it features the application of the NDPS Act to the pharmaceutical industries.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

1. Introduction to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act/Act) prohibits non-medical and non-scientific uses and all other related activities in relation to ‘narcotic drugs’ and ‘psychotropic substances’, cultivation of ‘coca plant’ (which is the source of cocaine a narcotic drug), ‘opium poppy’ (which is the source of opium, heroin, etc. all narcotic drugs), ‘cannabis plant’(which is the source of charas, hashish, ganja all narcotic drugs) and gathering of any portion of coca plant. The Act also controls and regulates the activities relating to ‘controlled substances’, which are precursor chemicals used for manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

For proper implementation of the Act, it is foremost essential to have a common understanding of meaning or definition of narcotic drug, psychotropic substance, controlled substance etc. Therefore, their meaning, as defined in the Act are cited below:

2. Definitions

2.1 Narcotic Drug 

It means coca leaf, cannabis (hemp), opium, poppy straw and includes all manufactured drugs.

[clause (xiv) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘coca leaf’ means-

(a) the leaf of the coca plant except a leaf from which all ecgonine (an alkaloid having a close structural relation to cocaine, found naturally in coca leaves), cocaine and any other ecgonine alkaloids have been removed;

(b) any mixture thereof with or without any neutral material, but does not include any preparation containing not more than 0.1 per cent of cocaine.

[clause (vi) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘cannabis (hemp)’ means-

(a) charas, that is the separated resin, in whatever form, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant and also includes concentrated preparation and resin known as hashish oil or liquid hashish;

(b) ganja, that is, the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accompanied by the tops), by whatever name they may be known or designated; and

(c) any mixture, with or without any natural material, of any of the above forms of cannabis or any drink prepared therefrom.

[clause (iii) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘opium’ means-

(a) the coagulated juice of the opium poppy; and

(b) any mixture, with or without any neutral material, of the coagulated juice of the opium poppy,

but does not include any preparation containing not more than 0.2 per cent of morphine.

[clause (xv) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘poppy straw’ means-

all parts (except the seeds) of the opium poppy after harvesting whether in their original form or cut, crushed or powdered and whether or not juice has been extracted there from.

[clause (xviii) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘manufactured drug’ means-

(a) all coca derivatives, medicinal cannabis, opium derivatives and poppy straw concentrate;

(b) any other narcotic substance or preparation which the Central Government may, having regard to the available information as to its nature or to a decision, if any, under any International Convention, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a manufactured drug, but does not include any narcotic substance or preparation which the Central Government may, having regard to the available information as to its nature or to a decision, if any, under any International Convention, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare not to be a manufactured drug.

[clause (xi) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

New Additions to the Existing List of Manufactured Drugs

Vide S.O. 1350 (E) dated 13.3.2019, in addition to the existing notified manufactured drugs, the following additions to the substances, salts and preparations thereof have been declared to be manufactured drugs, namely :

(i) Carfentanil: Methyl 1-(2-pheny lethyl)-4-[phenyl(propnoyl)amino] piperidine-4-carboxylate;

(ii) Ocfentanil: N-(2-Fluorophenyl)-2-methoxy-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-l]acetamide;

(iii) Furanylfentanyl: N-Phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-y1] furan-2-carboxamide;

(iv) Acryloylfentanyl (Acrylfentanyl): N-Phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-y1]prop-2-enamide;

(v) 4-Fluoroisobutyrfentanyl:N-(4-Fluoropheny)-2-methyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]propenamide;

(vi) Tetrahydrofuranylfentanyl: N-Phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethy)piperidin-4-yl]oxolane-2-carboxamide.

Further, vide S.O. 1274(E) dated 23.3.2021, the Central Government has declared the following substances, salts and preparations thereof to be manufactured drugs, namely: –

(i) Crotonylfentanyl: 2E)-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]but-2-enamide;

(ii) Valerylfentanyl: N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]pentanamide;

(iii) Parafluorobutyrylfentanyl: N-(4-fluorophenyl)-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-yl] butanamide;

(iv) Ortho-Fluorofentanyl: N-(2-fluorophenyl)-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-yl] propanamide;

(v) Methoxyacetyl fentanyl: 2-methoxy-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-yl] acetamide;

(vi) Cyclopropylfentanyl: N-Phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-yl] cyclopropane carboxamide.

      • ‘coca derivative’ means-

(a) crude cocaine, that is, any extract of coca leaf which can be used, directly or indirectly, for the manufacture of cocaine;

(b) ecgonine and all the derivatives of ecgonine from which it can be recovered;

(c) cocaine, that is methyl ester of benzoyl-ecgonine and its salt; and

(d) all preparation containing more than 0.1.per cent of cocaine.

[clause (v) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘medicinal cannabis’, that is, medicinal hemp means-

any extract or tincture of cannabis(hemp).

[clause (xii) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘opium derivative’ means-

(a) medicinal opium, that is, opium which has undergone the process necessary to adapt it for medicinal use in accordance with the requirements of the Indian Pharmacopoeia or any other pharmacopoeia notified in this behalf by the Central Government, whether in powder form or granulated or otherwise or mixed with neutral materials;

(b) prepared opium, that is, any product of opium obtained by any series of operations designed to transform opium into an extract suitable for smoking and the dross or other residue remaining after opium is smoked;

(c) phenanthrene alkaloids, namely morphine, codeine, thebaine and their salts;

(d) diacetylmorphine, that is, the alkaloid also known as diamorphine or heroin and its salts; and

(e) all preparations containing more than 0.2 per cent of morphine or containing any diacetylmorphine.

[clause (xvi) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

  • ‘poppy straw concentrate’ means-

The material arising when poppy straw has entered into a process for the concentration of its alkaloids.

[clause (xix) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

 

Consolidated meaning of Narcotic Drug is: coca leaf, cannabis (hemp), opium, poppy straw, coca derivatives[crude cocaine, ecgonine and all the derivatives of ecgonine from which it can be recovered, cocaine and its salt, all preparation containing more than 0.1.per cent of cocaine], medicinal cannabis [any extract or tincture of cannabis (hemp)], opium derivatives [medicinal opium, prepared opium, phenanthrene alkaloids, diacetylmorphine or heroin, all preparations containing more than 0.2 per cent of morphine or containing any diacetylmorphine] and poppy straw concentrate.

It also includes isomers, within specific chemical designation, the esters, ethers and salts of these drugs, including salts of esters, ethers and isomers, whenever existence of such substance is possible and any other narcotic substance or preparation which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a manufactured drug.

For example: Opium, Heroin, Cocaine, Ganja, Hashish, Morphine, etc.

2.2 Essential Narcotic Drug

It means a narcotic drug notified by the Central Government for medical and scientific use.

[clause (viiia) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

For example : Codeine, Hydrocodone, Oxy-codone, Fentanyl, Methadone and Morphine.

Certain narcotic drugs have been notified as ‘Essential Narcotic Drugs’ to ensure easier access of these drugs for medical use by bringing the activities relating to these drugs under the ambit of Central NDPS Rules, 1985 to regulate uniformly through out the country. Earlier activities relating to these drugs were under the ambit of States Rules which required multiple licenses from multiple agencies causing cumbersome procedures for their availability in medical use.

The term ‘essential narcotic drug’ has been inserted by NDPS (Amendment) Act, 2014 vide SRO 1183(E), dated 30.4.2014. Essential narcotic drugs were notified vide S.O. 1181(E), dated 5.5.2015.

3. Psychotropic Substance

It means any substance, natural or synthetic, or any natural material or any salt or preparation of such substance or material included in the list of psychotropic substances specified in the Schedule.

[clause (xxiii) of section 2 of the NDPS Act]

For example: Amphetamine, Methaqualone, Diazepam, Alprazolam, Ketamine, etc.

3.1 New Additions to the list of Psychotropic Substances

Vide S.O. 1352(E) dated 13.3.2019, the following stands added to the list of psychotropic substances

Sl. No.

International non-proprietary names Other non-proprietary names

Chemical name

110 Z AB-CHMINACA N-[(2S)-1-Amino-3-methyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl]-1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide
110ZA F-ADB(5F-MDMB-PINACA) Methyl(2S)-2-{1-(5-fluorophentyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbonylamino} -3,3-dimethylbutanoate
110ZB AB-PINACA N-[(2S)-1-Amino-3-methyl-1oxobutan-2yl]-1-penty1H-indazole 3-carboxamide
110ZC UR-144 (1-Penty-1 H-indol-3-yl)(2,2,3,3-tetramrthylcyclopropyl)methanone
110ZD 5F-PB-22 Quinolin-8-yl 1-(5-fluropenthl)-1h-inodole-3-carboxylate
110ZE 4-Fluoroamphetamine 4FA 1-(4-Fluorophenyl) propan-2-amine

3.2 Further, vide S.O. 1275(E) dated 23.3.2021, the following stands added to the list of psychotropic substances

Sl. No.

International non-proprietary names Other non-proprietary names

Chemical name

“110ZF AB-FUBINACA N-[(2S)-1-amino-3-methyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl]-1- [(4-fluorophenyl)methyl] indazole-3- carboxamide
110ZG 5F-AMB-PINACA (5F-AMB,5F-MMB-PINACA) Methyl 2-({[1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1Hindazol3yl]carbonyl} amino)-3-methylbutanoate
110ZH 5F-MDMB-PICA (5F-MDMB-2201) Methyl(S)-2-(1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indole-3- carboxamido)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate
110ZI 4F-MDMB-BINACA Methyl(S)-2-(1-(4-fluorobutyl)-1Hindazole-3- carboxamido)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate
110ZJ 4-CMC (4-chloromethcathinone) clephedrone 1-(4-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)-1- propanone
110ZK N-ethylhexedrone 2-(Ethylamino)-1-phenyl-1-hexanone
110ZL alpha-PHP (RS)-1-Phenyl-2-(pyrrolidine-1-yl)hexan-1-one
110ZM flualprazolam 8-Chloro-6-(2-fluoro-phenyl)-1-methyl-4hbenzo[f][1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]diazepime
110ZN Etizolam 4-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-ethyl-9-methyl-6H-thieno[3,2-f][1,2,4]triazolo[4,3a][1,4]diazepine
110ZO DOC 4-Chloro-2,5-dimethoxyamfetamine
110ZP ADB-FUBINACA N-[(2S)-1-amino-3,3-dimethyl-1-oxobutan-2- yl]-1-[(4-fluorophenyl)methyl]-1Hindazole-3-carboxamide
110ZQ FUB-AMB,MMBFUBINACA, AMBFUBINACA Methyl(2S)-2-({1-[4-fluorophenyl]methyl-1Hindazole-3-carbonyl }amino)-3-methylbutanoate
110ZR CUMYL-4CNBINACA 1-(4-cyanobutyl)-N-(2-phenylpropan-2-yl)-1Hindazole-3-carboxamide
110ZS ADB-CHMINACA, MAB-CHMINACA N-[(2S)-1-amino-3,3-dimethyl-1-oxobutan-2- yl]-1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indazole-3-Carboxamide

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