Over 3 million people in Punjab, or 15.4 percent of the population, are currently abusing narcotics of some type. However, alcohol is the most commonly misused substance in the state, with over 2 million people abusing it.
On Monday, the community medicine section of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) released the results of a study.
The second edition of the book: ‘Roadmap for Prevention and Control of Substance Abuse in Punjab’, edited by Dr JS Thakur, professor of community medicine at the PGIMER, was released by Banwarilal Purohit, Punjab governor and UT administrator, on Monday. The report contains comprehensive information on the burden of substance abuse in India and the state of Punjab, various types of substances abused by people, strategies for the prevention and control, the district substance abuse prevention plan and implementation.
While detailing the findings, Dr Thakur said, “As per the State of Punjab Household Survey (SPHS) and state-wide NCD STEPs Survey by the PGIMER, the projected number of overall substance use in Punjab is 15.4%, with more prevalence among the men. Over 2 million people consume alcohol, followed by tobacco, which is consumed by more than 1.5 million people. Also, around 1.7 lakh people consume opioids, followed by cannabinoids as well as sedative-inhalant- stimulants. These are largely a class of pharmacological or prescription drugs being used illicitly.”
The study also revealed that there is also a large number of injecting drug users in states with a high prevalence of HIV (19.5%) in the survey.
He added that there should be a self-sustained strategy, which will work towards supply, demand and harm reduction measures. Supply reduction strategy means to target illegal drugs, whereby the efforts generally involve attempts to disrupt the distribution and supply chains for these drugs. Demand reduction can be mediated via the efforts aimed at reducing the public desire for illegal and illicit drugs. De-addiction services are contributing to demand reduction measures.