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					Original Article                                                                                                                            JK-PRACTITIONER

Mushtaq.A.Margoob MD; AB Majid MBBS; Dhuha M BSC; Imtiaz Murtaza PhD; Zaffar Abbas
MD; Masood Tanveer MD;Zaid A Wani MBBS ;Arshid Husain MD;Mudasir Ahmad MBBS; Irfan
Jehangeer MBBS; Huda M BSC; Ishfaq Ahmad MSC.

Use of thin layer chromatography as a broad-spectrum screen for detection of drugs of abuse, as
a part of this recent,larg-scale,well-designed drug abuse epidemiological study supported by the
department of Science and Technology has been extremely helpful in quick diagnosis and rapid
detoxification of those 61.91%of suspected substance abusers who had denied history of any
drug use or abuse at first contact with the investigating team.

                                      JK - Practitioner 2004; 11(4):257-260
Authors’ affiliations:            INTRODUCTION                                                                             adjoining areas 8,9. All these indicators
Mushtaq.A.Margoob; Abdul                     Psychoactive substance use                                                    characterizing the situation clearly reflect
Majid; Zaid.A.Wani; Arshid        and abuse is globally perceived as one                                                   it as deteriorating fast .In comparison to
Husain; Mudaser Ahmed;            of the alarming public health problems.                                                  9.5% use of opioid based preparations
Ishfaq     Ahmad;      Irfan      No effective treatment and prevention                                                    during 1980 it had increased to
Jehangeer                         related policy issues can be arrived at                                                  73.1%during 20026 and is worst now.
Department Of Psychiatry          without adequate information regarding                                                             Despite such high incidence of
Govt Medical College Srg.         the nature and distribution of drug abuse                                                substance abuse it is often misdiagnosed
Zaffar Abbas.                     in population and their causative factors                                                as drug abusers frequently deny or
Department of Pharmacology        .Widespread data in drug abuse is lacking                                                minimize their problems .The laboratory
GMC Srg.                          and it is difficult to make generalizations                                              facilities help in making correct diagnosis
Masood Tanveer.                   because of regional variations1.                                                         by identifying a compound directly
Department of Medicine GMC                    The geographical location of                                                 responsible for development of
Srg.                              Jammu and Kashmir makes transit of                                                       symptoms, thus immensely helping in
Imtiaz Murtaza                    drugs possible across the state. Present                                                 proper treatment. Testing for presence or
Department of Biochemistry        prevailing disturbed conditions have                                                     absence of drugs of abuse in body fluids
SKUAST-K Srg.                     worsened drug abuse scenario besides                                                     also helps to monitor improvement of
Dhuha M.                          phenomenal increase in other psychiatric                                                 patients in treatment. Thin layer
Department of Biotechnology       disorders in Kashmir 2,3 . Opiate                                                        chromatography (TLC) has been used as
Kashmir University.               preparations including heroine abuse has                                                 a broad spectrum screen for detection of
Huda M.                           become the most serious problem in                                                       drug abuse. TLC results are only
Department of psychology          Kashmir over the past few years. Last                                                    qualitative and cannot be quantified.12
Kashmir University.               year cases using cocaine which would                                                           The aim of this study therefore was
                                  cost the addict about 2000-2500 rupees                                                   to assess the results of use of modern
Accepted for publication:         per day were also detected 5. Media                                                      scientific procedures for the first time in
September 2004                    reports about large scale cultivation of                                                 Kashmir for identifying different drugs
                                  cannabis(charas) in southern Kashmir                                                     and drug combinations in biological
Correspondence to:                and seizes of large quantities of opioids                                                specimens of drug addicts identified
Dr. Mushtaq. A. Margoob                                                                                                    through a meticulously planned
                                  mostly heroin in northern border areas
Associate Professor                                                                                                        community research endeavor.
Deptt. of Psychiatry
                                  like Handwara are alarmingly increasing6,7.   Unauthorised large scale brewing and                                                     MATERIALAND METHODS:
                                  sale outlets of alcohol are becoming a                                                              The detection of narcotic and
                                  common sight in the city of Srinagar and                                                 psychotropic substances in body fluids
                                  ○    ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○    ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○   ○

                                  Key words: Drug abuse, nature, detoxification, chromatography.

257                                        Vol. 11, No. 4, October-December 2004
of substance abusers was carried out at the thin layer                  gel coated glass plates).Characterization of a particular drug
chromatography laboratory established at the hospital for               is achieved by color reaction produced by spraying the plate
psychiatric diseases Srinagar by the first author (MAM)as               with coloring reagents. To accomplish this, the patient's sample
the principal investigator of the research project titled"              is spotted along with known drugs on a TLC plate, which is
community survey on substance related disorders( drug                   put in a solvent chamber. The solvent runs up the plate, it is
abuse) in Kashmir" assisted by the department of science                dried and sprayed with various reagents. The color spots of
and technology. More than 200 biological specimens have                 various known drugs are then compared with sample from
been analyzed by means of TLC so far during the year 2003-              unknown patients. The spot location is located by an R f
2004.                                                                   (retention factor ) number which is the ratio of distance traveled
          Methodology of TLC as a screen for detection of               by the solvent from the original, where the sample was spotted.
drugs of abuse is most inexpensive and does not require any                       The spots on TLC plate can be visualized by
sophisticated instrumentation. TLC results are qualitative and          ultraviolet or florescent light also. In our study we have been
can not be quantified; therefore it gives positive or negative          using the ultraviolet method for detection of the spots.
results. The major drawback of TLC is it's low sensitivity and                    Retention factor (Rf) = distance traveled by the drug/
low specificity, thus negative results of TLC are not always            distance traveled by the solvent
negative by other methods. TLC relies on a reproducible                           The Rf provides corroborative evidence as to
migration pattern by drug of a thin layer adsorbent (eg: silica         identify the compound.

                                                                  Table 1
                                                         Socio-demographic variables

   Age         No.     %         Sec      No.           %         R/U        No.         %           Smo/N-smo     No.          %

   16-25       60      35.71     Males    164           97.62     Urban      124         71.43       Smokers       156          92.85

   26-35       84      50.0      Females 4              2.38      Rural      48          28.57       Non-smokers   12           7.15

   36-45       20      11.91

   46-55       4       2.38

   Marital status      No.       %        Social status           No.        %           Occupation                No.          %

   Unmarried           80        47.62    Upperclass              4          2.38        Students                  24           14.29

   Unmarried           84        50.0     Uppermiddleclass        20         11.90       Employed                  72           42.56

   Divorced            4         2.38     Lower middle class      124        73.82       Unemployed                28           16.66

                                          Lower class             20         11.90       Labourers                 8            4.76

                                                                                         businessman               36           21.43

   Family status       No.       %        Education               No.         %          Onset age of              No.          %
                                                                                         drug use

   Nuclear             60        35.72    Graduates               12         7.15        11-15                     16           9.52

   Joint               104       61.90    Under graduates         64         38.09       16-20                     52           30.99

   Single              4         2.38     Upto matric             28         16.66       21-25                     40           23.89

                                          Below matric            28         16.66       26-30                     36           21.42

                                          Illiterates             36         21.43       31-35                     16           9.52

                                                                                         36-40                     4            2.38

                                                                                         40-45                     4            2.38

                                             Vol. 11, No. 4, October-December 2004                                                      258
                                                                    Table 2
                                                         Nature of substance abused

      Type of drug abused                    Number                        Percentage
      Opoids other than heroin               44                            26.91
      Opoids+bzp                             32                            19.05
      Opoids+cannabis                        12                            7.15
      bzd                                    4                             2.38
      opoids+bzp+cannabis                    8                             4.75
      opoids+alcohol+cannabis                4                             2.38
      cannabis+alcohol                       8                             4.75
      cannabis+heroin+alcohol                8                             4.75
      cannabis+alcohol+codeine               4                             2.38
      alcohol                                12                            7.15
      alcohol+opoids                         4                             2.38
      heroine                                12                            7.15
      alcohol+heroine                        8                             4.73
      alcohol+heroine+analgesic              4                             2.38
      alcohl+codeine+cannabis                1                             2.38

                                                                    agencies, NGO's at community and individual level need to
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION                                              be mobilized at the earliest at least to contain this menace.
          Drugs that were found in drug abusers biological          Preventive measures including efforts to minimize delay and
fluids are shown in the table 1.The most commonly used              prevent people from being drug users would be helpful. Due
individual drug at present in Kashmir, by those drug abusers        to different conceptual models of treatment of people,
who usually deny use of any psychoactive substance at first         involved in treating drug dependents , a well-planed strategy
contact, include opioids, cannabinoids, benzodiazepines             and co-coordinated efforts is required. Treatment in OPD,
and alcohol. The findings of this study are quite alarming. As      community clinic and general medical setting is cost effective
already reported few months back in the study of patient            and possible as well.
sample of 2002, the profile of substance abusers has changed
with fast increasing percentage of harder substance abusers,        ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
mostly opioid6.                                                     Thanks are due to the Department of Science and Technology
          But what is more disturbing as revealed by the            Ministry of science and Technology Government of India for
present study is that within a short span of two years not          supporting this research work
only has multiple drug use doubled but alcohol use which            Thanks are also due to Dr Anil Malhotra Additional Professor
was almost nonexistent earlier has shot up to about 30% .           Drug De- addiction Centre PGI Chandigarh, Dr.Guru Raj
Our earlier studies carried out to asses the out come of            Prof.and Head Department of Epidemiology, NIMANS
treatment provided to the recovering drug addicts at the non-       Bangalore and Mr.Altaf Ahmed, M phil, Additional director
governmental de-addiction centers with regard to the                Department of Science and Technology Government of Jammu
parameters like drug free status, employment status, adequacy       and Kashmir for their readily available help from time to time
of social functioning, the state of health in illegal activities,   during the research.
showed that the over all treatment results and the prognosis
of drug abusers treated at NGO's de-addiction centers which         REFERENCES
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259                                          Vol. 11, No. 4, October-December 2004
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