Yes, this product that almost 65 million Indians consume daily.
The police says that the “substance” has been illegally imported to Columbus city in Ohio from either Nepal or India.
Reynoldsburg Police Chief Jim O’Neill told 10TV, “We believe there’s a euphoric effect but it also seems to affect their equilibrium. There’s a general loss of balance and coordination that goes along with the use of this product.”
After an inspection, the store discarded all the gutka packets. Officials are scanning the entire region for more packets of what they call betel nut.
This is why the sale of gutka is banned in many Indian states. The betel nut, also known as areca nut, has been found to contain arecoline, a carcinogenic psychoactive ingredient similar to nicotine. It is one of the key ingredients in the gutka.
REUTERS/Rupak De Chowduri
For thousands of years, betel nuts have been used in traditional events and for normal consumption by both the elite and the hoi polloi of the societies in the region.
Cut and uncut betel nuts at a market. Wikimedia Commons
Around half of India’s population chews betel nut in one form or the other.