Over 35 million people under influence of drugs globally, cause of worry in India too

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As the world observes International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking and an ction plan is drwan up to tackle the menace, India continues to grapple with its own share of problems when it comes to substance abuse.

The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in a statement released on occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse said over 35 million people suffer from drug abuse globally. And the India story is equally disconcerting. As per a report prepared by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2019, there are a significant number of people who are under the influence of psychoactive substances in India. The report also stated that substance use exists in all population groups and alcohol, cannabis, opioids and inhalants are most used mediums of substance abuse.

Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians. Use of alcohol is considerably higher among men (27.3 per cent) as compared to women (1.6 per cent). For every one woman who consumes alcohol, there are 17 men consuming alcohol. States with high prevalence of more than 10 per cent cases of of alcohol use disorders include Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh. Nearly one in every five alcohol user suffers from alcohol dependence and needs urgent treatment.

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With regards to cannabis, there are 50 lakh users of ganja and nearly 40 lakh users of bhang in India. Over 77 lakh people with opioid use disorders are present in the country. More than half of the figure is contributed by just a few states including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat.

However, in terms of the percentage of population affected, the north eastern states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Maniur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim appear to be the worst hit along with Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. The inhalant abuse figures are also staggering to say the least while nearly 8.5 lakh people dependant on injectable drugs.

The UNODC meanwhile says that there has been a notable impact of coronavirus induced pandemic on drug distribution and consumption. The pandemic has caused drug shortage resulting in hike in prices, making poor people more vulnerable to drug use, cultivation, and trafficking.

 

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