After alcohol, India has a rising cannabis addiction problem, warns AIIMS study


  • According to a study by AIIMS, nearly 60 million Indians are addicted to alcohol. While over seven million people consume cannabis (charas, ganja).
  • The male-female ratio stands at 17:1, in terms of alcohol intake.
  • Uttar Pradesh accounts for most alcohol drinkers in the country.
While alcohol addiction affects an estimated 57 million Indians, a major study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has revealed that a whopping 7.2 million people in India are addicted to cannabis — charas, ganja, bhang — as it is known locally.

The report by the National Drug Dependent Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under AIIMS said every one out of three alcohol users need to be accessed for medical help in alcohol-related issues, which develops due to harmful intake of alcohol.

First of its kind, the study titled ‘National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India’ 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.

According to Dr Atul Ambedkar, AIIMS, the Heroine consumers in India have also increased over the past years at 1.14% — which was recorded at 0.2% during the last survey published in 2004.

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 usage of other categories of substance abuse — psychoactive substances — including opioids, cocaine among others — has increased.

Worst affected states

While the survey accessed people across India, it also revealed a state-wise statistics on substance abuse. According to the report, Punjab, Goa, Tripura, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh are most dependent on alcohol. However, Uttar Pradesh has the highest share of alcohol drinkers in India.

In terms of cannabis, Delhi, Punjab, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh topped the charts, with maximum number of addicts.

See also:
Not just cigarettes, alcohol bottles in India will have a loud and clear warning soon
Most young people in India’s national capital who drink alcohol are under-age: Survey
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