Punjab

Over 22 lakh in grip of addiction of various intoxicants including alcohol in Punjab

September 11, 2017 04:37 AM

PGIMER Study Puts Number Of addicts to Between 1.7 Lakh And 2.7 Lakh

Chandigarh: In Punjab, 29.7 lakh people are in the grip of some addiction, including alcohol, tobacco and various opioids, but a huge chunk out this -22 lakh people-are dependent on alcohol. These facts have come to light for the first time in the study , `Estimation of substance use in Punjab', concluded by PGIMER and supported by the Indian Council of Medical Education and Research. The study started in 2015 and covered all 22 districts of the state. The current population of Punjab is estimated to be 29.9 million.

The study found that about 1 in 92 persons residing in Punjab households had used illicit substance (drug) in past 12 months, and more than 1 in 8 7 is currently dependent on drugs. Apart from this, around 1in 33 reported to having an accident under the influence of substance abuse. 

Dr Ajit Avasthi and Dr Debashish Basu were the principal investigators of the study. On the opioid users in the state, this study almost matches `Punjab opioid dependence survey' conducted by the AIIMS last year. Instead of relying on indirect method, as the AIIMS study had done, the researchers in PGIMER adopted two different methodologies--the household survey and the rapid assessment survey . Therefore, the current estimate of opioid users in the state was placed between 1.7 lakh and 2.7 lakh. The AIIMS study had put the number at 2.3 lakh.

For the household survey, 6,398 houses were studied and 13,295 respondents were interviewed. This survey found that approximately 1 in 6 persons in Punjab were dependent on some substance. “The single most common sub stance of use and dependence in Punjab was alcohol, followed by tobacco. There were more than 22 lakh alcohol dependent persons and nearly 16 lakh hooked on to tobacco currently,“ said Dr Avasthi. The study considered both illicit drugs (opioids like bhukki, doda, opium, afeem, heroin, norphin, smack, khuskhus, injectable heroin, norphin, tramadol etc) and licit substances (alcohol and tobacco). “As we wanted to present a scientifically valid study, we had to consider both the household survey and indirect method--where data from only hospitals and rehabilitation centre was taken,“ said Dr Avasthi.

The study found that about 1 in 92 persons residing in Punjab households had used illicit substance (drug) in past 12 months, and more than 1 in 8 7 is currently dependent on drugs. Apart from this, around 1in 33 reported to having an accident under the influence of substance abuse. “Previous studies, including the household survey in Punjab projected the opioid dependency at 1.07% of the population, AIIMS projected this as 0.84%,“ said Dr Avasthi. The limitation of this study was that it did not include bars, discothèques, paying guest accommodations, schools and colleges.

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