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What is the Prevalence of Drug Abuse in India?

In order to find the prevalence of drug abuse in India, a study was conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE). As per the 2019 report, 14.6% of the population uses alcohol. It is higher among men than women. It was found that 2.8% of the population uses Cannabis. This article covers the causes and harmful effects of drug abuse.

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States with Highest Prevalence of Cannabis are

  1. Uttar Pradesh
  2. Punjab
  3. Sikkim
  4. Chhattisgarh
  5. Delhi.

India is sandwiched between the two largest Opium producing regions of the world that is the Golden triangle on one side and the Golden crescent on the other.

  • The golden crescent area includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Further details on the Golden Cresent are available on the linked page.
  • The golden triangle area comprises Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, Read in detail about the Golden Triangle on the given link.

What are the Causes of Drug Abuse?

Some of the causes behind drug abuse are listed below.

  1. Family history of addiction
  2. Mental health disorder
  3. Peer pressure
  4. Lack of family involvement
  5. Early use
  6. Taking highly addictive drugs.

What are the Different Types of Substance Abuse?

The 8 different types of substance abuse are listed below.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cannabis
  3. Opioids
  4. Sedatives
  5. Inhalants
  6. Cocaine
  7. Amphetamine Stimulants
  8. Hallucinogens 

What are the Harmful Effects of Drug Abuse?

The harmful effects of drug abuse could be short-term or long-term. It could have a direct or indirect impact. The effects also depend on the type of drugs used. Short-term effects are listed below.

  1. Change in heart rate
  2. Change in blood pressure
  3. Heart attack
  4. Stroke
  5. Psychosis
  6. Change in appetite

The long-term effects are listed below.

  1. Heart disease
  2. Lung disease
  3. Cancer
  4. AIDS
  5. Hepatitis

The magnitude of Substance Abuse in India – 2019 Report

As per Magnitude of Substance Abuse in India 2019 report

  1. 72 lakhs people need treatment for using Cannabis
  2. 11 lakhs people need treatment for using sedatives
  3. 60 lakhs people need treatment for using Opioids.
  4. It was estimated there are around 16 crore alcohol consumers in the 10-75 years age group in India.
  5. 5.7 crore people needed treatment for using alcohol.

Reasons for Drug Abuse

  1. To be accepted by the peers
  2. Increasing economic stress
  3. Changing cultural values
  4. Experimentation
  5. Neurotic pleasure
  6. Ineffective Policing

Drug Abuse – Negative Impacts

Some of the negative impacts of drug abuse are given below

  1. Increase in diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Tuberculosis
  2. Increase in violence
  3. Economic potential gets wasted
  4. Affects relationships with family, friends creating emotional and social problems
  5. Increases financial burden
  6. Women face domestic violence

India – Signatory of Various International Treaties and Conventions to Combat Drug Menace

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 7th December 1987, decided that 26th June of every year will be recognized as the International Drug Day (another name for International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking). Further details on International Drug Day are available on the given link.

India is a signatory of the following international treaties and conventions to combat the menace of Drug Abuse

  1. United Nations (UN) Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961)
  2. United Nations (UN) Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971).
  3. United Nations (UN) Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
  4. Transnational Convention Crime (2000)

Drug Abuse and WHO

WHO has played an important role within the UN system in addressing the world drug problem. WHO activities to counter the world drug problem can be presented under the following main dimensions:

  • prevention of drug use and reduction of vulnerability and risks;
  • treatment and care of people with drug use disorders;
  • prevention and management of the harms associated with drug use;
  • access to controlled medicines; and
  • monitoring and evaluation.

Daily News

Target 3.5 of UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 sets out a commitment by governments to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. You can go through the details on Sustainable Development Goals SDGs on the linked page.

Battle Against Drug Abuse in India – Recent Developments

  1. Government will roll out its Action Plan for 2020-21 known as Nasha Mukt Bharat.
  2. The Focus of the plan will be to build treatment and drug de-addiction facilities in 272 districts identified as vulnerable based on access to drugs and prevalence of substance abuse.
  3. The Action plan will be steered by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. (MSJE).
  4. Among the 272 Vulnerable districts identified Uttar Pradesh has 33 vulnerable districts, Punjab (18 districts), Delhi (11 districts), Gujarat (8 districts) and Maharashtra (Pune, Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur).

Nasha Mukt Bharat Action Plan 2020-21 – Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

The main components and 3 pronged strategies of Nasha Mukt Bharat are given below.

Nasha Mukt Bharat will focus on 3 pronged strategies, which are listed below.

  1. Treatment through the Health Departments.
  2. Outreach/Awareness by Social Justice 
  3. Narcotics Bureau

Nasha Mukt Bharat – Main Components of the Action Plan 2020-21

  1. Awareness generation programs in University Campuses Higher Education institutions, and schools.
  2. Building capacity for service providers
  3. Focus on Treatment facilities in Hospital Settings.
  4. Identification of dependent population and community outreach.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions about Drug Abuse in India


Which state consumes highest drugs in India?

The states contributing the largest numbers of cannabis users to the sample were Uttar Pradesh (20.8%), followed by Bihar (18.6%), Kerala (15.8%), West Bengal (7.4%) and Maharashtra (7.0%)..

What are ethical issues in drug abuse?

There are many social and ethical issues surrounding the use and abuse of drugs. These issues are made complex particularly because of conflicting values concerning drug use within modern societies. Values may be influenced by multiple factors including social, religious, and personal views.

Related Links

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)  Social Issues in India
Fighting Drug Menace: RSTV – The Big Picture International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking
Social Empowerment – Definition & Government Initiatives Social Welfare – Schemes to Empower Vulnerable Community


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