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Alcohol, Cannabis Dependence gripping Millions in India: AIIMS Survey

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Alcohol, Cannabis Dependence gripping Millions in India: AIIMS Survey

Alcohol and cannabis addiction seems to have taken over 5.7 crore and 75 lakh people of India respectively, a recent survey by National Drug Dependent Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under AIIMS has revealed

The report titled “Magnitude of Substance Use in India” showed that usage of other Psychoactive substances such as cannabis (bhang and ganja/charas), opioids (opium, heroin and pharmaceutical opioids), cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), sedatives, inhalants, and hallucinogens have also increased.

Drug addiction and alcohol abuse have reached an alarming dimension in India. As drug abuse surging in India, the NDDTC under AIIMS performed a survey across the country, to ascertain the extent of the menace. At the national level, a total of 200,111 households were visited in 186 districts and a total of 473,569 individuals were interviewed.

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The survey revealed shocking figures about substance abuse in the country.

  • 5.7 crores of Indian population have been found addicted to alcohol
  • Around 8.5 lakh people inject drugs.
  • Around 75 lakh people in India are addicted to cannabis such as charas, ganja, bhang—as it is known vernacularly. 

The report by the National Drug Dependent Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under AIIMS said every one out of three alcohol users needs to be accessed for medical help in alcohol-related issues, which develops due to the harmful intake of alcohol. The study further reveals that 16 crore people in India between the age of 10 to 75 consume alcohol.

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Furthermore, the report also pointed out that there are about 8.5 Lakh People Who Inject Drugs (PWID). States leading in PWID include Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Nagaland.

The survey further revealed that states with most dependencies on alcohol are Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, and Goa.

While this survey indicated an alarming rise in the alcohol abuse AIIMS conducted another survey of its own kind titled ‘National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India’ which was conducted across the country — including all states and union territories — interviewing over 500,000 people in India.

The study had respondents between 10 to 75 years of age. According to the alarming conclusions drawn from the study, nearly 16% — which is around 1.6 billion of the country’s population — falling under the given age group is an alcohol drinker.

The psychotic survey also highlighted that over 300,000 citizens in India said that they have consumed cannabis in the past year.

Alcohol addiction’s effect on youth is well-known. Most of the youth in India’s National Capital starts consuming alcohol much before the legal drinking age — including teenagers. In fact, roughly 460,000 children were found addicted to inhalant drugs.

However, the male-female ratio in terms of alcohol consumption — 17:1 — has shown that far fewer women drink. With men dominating the numbers, nearly 30% reportedly consumed desi liquor or India-made foreign liquor.

The study has also shown that the use of other categories of substance abuse — psychoactive substances — including opioids, cocaine among others — has increased.

Talking to ANI, Dr. Atul Ambekar, Professor, NDDTC, AIIMS, New Delhi said: “It is for the first time a categorical survey on Psychoactive substances have been conducted in India including all the states and Union Territories.”

Moreover, Ambekar added that the use of Heroin has also escalated in massive amount with 1.14 percent of usage against the 0.2 percent as per the last survey at the national level conducted in 2004.

The survey stated that a large portion of people are affected by the addiction in India and they are not receiving any treatment.

Ambekar asserts, “With categorical division of state-wise survey it would be easier to detect which state consumes which drug and thus, more specific awareness process can be undertaken by the state and central government. It will bring out speedy guidelines as well as implementation.

Both the surveys were sponsored and commissioned by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Source: with agency inputs

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