27 May 2022 15:56
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Kamini, ‘Indian viagra,’ containing opioid under scanner in Australia

According to a latest research, a bottle of Kamini that contains 40 balls is being covertly shipped across Australia's borders to be distributed via Indian grocery stores.

“Kamini”, a herbal drug which contains highly addictive opioids, Papaver somniferum, is again in news. These bottles are produced in India and sold as “Indian viagra” to improve mens’ virility in India.

A bottle of Kamini contains 40 balls, each tablet varies in size and weight: between 0.2 and 0.4 containing up to five per cent opium. These bottles are covertly shipped across Australia’s borders to be distributed via Indian grocery stores.

People, mostly South Asian-origin taxi and truck drivers, are known to be using 30 each day which was the equivalent of taking a strong 60mg tablet of OxyContin. Experts believe that taking merely two tablets of this opioid ball can give the user a “hit”.

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In one online Indian community group a Melbourne man said he believed Kamini is “good for temporary pain relief or if you are feeling low.

“Actually it’s the combination of red bull and viagra”.

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A paper published in in Drug & Alcohol Review by a team of Queensland researchers comprising of Tabibul Khan, Pem Ariyawansa, Janette Quinn, and Jeremy Hayllar has revealed that Kamini is being sold from under the counter to people who are addicted to the drug.

Dr Jeremy Hayllar, from Alcohol and Drug Service, Metro North Health in Brisbane told 9news.com.au:

“The balls are kind of brownish, they’re not formal-looking tablets we might expect to see from a reputable pharmaceutical source. They are literally round, grey-brown balls.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain of Kamini was disrupted. This resulted in driving the price of a bottle from $110 to $180.

According to the latest research, 12 patients presented with features of opioid withdrawal. Seven of the 12 patients had worked in the ride-sharing or taxi industry.

Dr Hayllar told ABC that the patients started using the herbal product after being advised it would give them “more energy to enable them to work longer hours”.

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Queensland Police Service spokesperson told 9news that they “have not identified this substance as a trend or issue”. However, they “encourage anyone with information on the supply of dangerous drugs” to contact law enforcement agencies.

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This is not just an Australian problem. In 2020, New Zealand’s Auckland Opioid Treatment Service reported treating 10 men who were addicted to Kamini.

Kamini represents an illicit source of non-prescription opioid in Australia and the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 prohibit the importation of medications such as this, which contain opium.

People are warned that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has prohibited Kamini as “these tablets pose a serious risk to your health and should not be taken”.

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