Hyderabad doctor’s wife held for ‘supplying’ synthetic opioid drug Fentanyl through Porter app

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

BySumit Jha

Published Jan 19, 2024 | 8:00 AMUpdatedJan 19, 2024 | 8:00 AM

The potency of Fentanyl makes it effective in providing relief from intense pain, but it also increases the risk of overdose if not used properly. (Creative Commons)

A Hyderabad doctor’s wife and an alleged drug addict were arrested for the illegal distribution and use of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

The arrests were made jointly by the Telangana State Anti-Narcotic Bureau (TSNAB) and the Cyberabad Police on Thursday, 18 January.

The operation was allegedly run by Dr Ahsan Mustafa Khan, an anaesthetist at the Sameer Hospital in Hyderabad.

The police seized 57 vials of Fentanyl injection ampoules of 2 ml each and more than ₹6 lakh from Dr Khan’s house. The doctor was away in Kuwait when the police searched his residence.

Also Read: Drugs worth ₹468.02 crore seized and destroyed in Hyderabad suburbs

The crackdown

TSNAB received a tipoff about an unexplained procurement of the scheduled drug from a pharmacy attached to a hospital. A few days of surveillance led the sleuths to the doctor.

“It was Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Usually, it is given to patients suffering from acute pain during and after surgeries,” TSNAB said in a statement.

On further observation of the doctor’s residence, the TSNAB found a Porter App delivery executive receiving a parcel every evening and delivering it to an address within the limits of the Cyberabad Police Commissionerate.

“This was happening daily, giving a strong signal of addiction,” the TSNAB said.

TSNAB alerted the Commissioner of Cyberabad Police and a plan was chalked out. Meanwhile, Dr Khan had left for Kuwait.

“We were waiting for the doctor’s return but the condition of the addict deteriorated. Cyberabad Special Operation Team, Rajendranagar Police, and TSNAB decided to launch the operation on Wednesday, 17 January,” TSNAB said.

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Modus operandi

Even as the police were watching, the Porter executive delivered four vials of Fentanyl, and the alleged addict paid ₹17,500 through Google Pay. The joint police party intervened and confiscated the consignment. They asked the Porter executive to take them to the place from where he had picked up the consignment.

“The executive took the police to the house from took the consignment, He said that sometimes, the watchman and, on other occasions, the woman used to hand over the consignment,” the TSNAB said.

“The house belonged to Dr Ahsan Mustafa Khan, an anaesthetist working with Sameer Hospital. Upon searching the house, we found ₹6.08 lakh in cash and 53 vials of Fentanyl, the TSNAB said.

The doctor’s wife — whose name was not divulged — was arrested on Thursday morning. “We are waiting for the return of Dr Khan to know if he has been supplying the same to others as well,” TSNAB said.

“On Friday, we will check the inventory of Sameer Hospital along with the officials of the Drugs Control department. The drug is so dangerous that the commercial quantity is just 0.1 grams. The lethality of drugs can be watched on YouTube,” the TSNAB said.

Also Read: With over 29 lakh ‘drug users’, Telangana tops in South

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic (pain-relieving medication) that is used medically for pain management, particularly in situations such as surgery, cancer treatment, and severe chronic pain.

The potency of Fentanyl makes it effective in providing relief from intense pain, but it also increases the risk of overdose if not used properly.

Fentanyl is approved by the Drug Administration for use as an analgesic and anaesthetic to treat severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Pharmaceutical Fentanyl is prescribed by doctors.

Due to its potential for misuse and the associated health risks, Fentanyl is a controlled substance and its use outside of medical supervision is strongly discouraged.

Also, illegally manufactured Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, including heroin and cocaine.

Fentanyl produces effects such as relaxation, euphoria, pain relief, sedation, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction, and respiratory depression. An overdose can cause stupor, changes in pupil size, clammy skin, cyanosis, coma, and respiratory failure leading to death.