Study Magnitude of Substance use in India

Prelims level : Mains level : GS: 2 Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
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  • An estimated 16 crore Indians in the age group of 10-75 are consumers of alcohol and around 4.6 lakh children are addicted to inhalant drugs.


  • The first countrywide survey commissioned by the Union government on the extent of substance abuse has found that these children are in dire need of help.
  • The study Magnitude of Substance Use in India revealed that close to 15 in every hundred Indians consume alcohol band more than five per cent needed medical help to tackle dependence on substance. The survey was conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and were released
  • The study defines users who have used substances in nine categories, namely — alcohol, cannabis, opioids, cocaine, sedatives, inhalants and hallucinogens – at least once in past 12 months.


  • The study said that 14.6 per cent Indians were found to be alcohol users while 5.2 per cent wanted help. Close to 1.6 crore people in Uttar Pradesh have been found to suffer from alcohol dependence or consumed it in a harmful way. In Bengal, 27 lakh people have consumed alcohol while the figure for Odisha stands at 21 lakhs.
  • The number assigned to a state is the extrapolated figure to match the population share of the state. Hence Utter Pradesh is found to have the highest number of harmful and dependent users of alcohol and other substances.
  • Tripura (13.7 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (7.2 per cent) and Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh (around 6 per cent each) were the states with highest prevalence of alcohol dependence. The survey found that alcohol dependence is lesser in states where prohibition in in force. For example, only 0.9 per cent of the population in Bihar and 3.9 in Gujarat were found to be alcohol users.
  • According to the study, cannabis users number around 3.1 crore; opioid users 2.25 crore; sedative users 1.18 crore; hallucinogen users 12.6 lakh and cocaine users 10 lakh.
  • The states which have recorded use of cannabis more than the national average include Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab.
  • In terms of percentage of population affected, the top states in the country are those in the Northeast — Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur.
  • The current survey also points that heroin use prevalence is higher than 2004 and has, in fact, surpassed the opium use. Currently, the prevalence of heroin use is twice as much of opium use in total population.
  • Nationally, it is estimated that there are about 8.5 lakh people who inject drugs.
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