They are seen as a bunch of desperate individuals, often at the mercy of peddlers. But consumer activism is fast seeping into the tribe of junkies. No longer ready to be taken for granted, young drug users from city have found their way to check the exact quantity of contrabands that they buy from shady peddlers
The portable instrument, also known as narcotic or drug scales, is of the same size and shape of a mobile phone. It can weigh up to 200 grams of narcotics and costs anywhere between Rs250 and Rs500.
The gadget is proving to be a win-win proposition for both buyers and sellers. Junkies use it while procuring drugs to make sure they are not being cheated, while peddlers are happy with the device as it earns them a consumer's trust.
A 28-year-old media professional from Colaba who carries the weighing machine around said, "I use the scales as I regularly buy drugs in small quantities. As soon as the dope is handed over, I put it on the scale and check if it is the right amount, because many a times, they tend to cheat us with a difference of few grams."
With cocaine costing about Rs3,000 a gram and meow meow (mephedrone) selling for about Rs1,000 for the same quantity, a minor variation can mean loss of a lot of money for daily users.
The scales are originally sold in markets as a machine to weigh gold coins and jewellery, but have entered the new trade of late. "It is available in a few small electronic and gadget stores in the city. Right from hashish, cocaine and meow meow, it is used by people to weigh any drug. For some, it also help them keep a tab on their consumption level," said the Colaba resident.
A 31-year-old IT professional, who do drugs at least four to five times a day, said, "It's important for me to know how much I consume at each interval. The instrument is compact and easy to use. Almost every junkie friend of mine has one handy."