NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh could have the highest number of people estimated to be in need of medical intervention for substance abuse, according to the ‘Prevalence and Extent of Substance Use in India Report’. Though the prevalence in UP is lower as compared to other states, the sheer size of the state would mean more number of people affected by the use of the psychoactive substances, according to experts who conducted the survey.
According to their estimates, around 160 lakh people require help for alcohol abuse, 28 lakh for cannabis dependence, 8.7 lakh for opioid use, 3.5 lakh for sedatives, 94,000 for inhalants and roughly 1 lakh people who inject drugs in the state, shows the report.
“These are the not the number of people we have interviewed but the estimated numbers of people who need help from dependence on alcohol and these substances depending on the prevalence compared to te population of Uttar Pradesh,” said Dr Atul Ambekar, professor, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC).
Around 75 per cent of people with alcohol problems in the country reside in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Karnataka.
A state-wide liquor ban also does not seem to be able to arrest the slide. A significant proportion of alcohol users in these states fall under the category of harmful or dependent use — Gujarat 30 per cent, Bihar 16 per cent, Manipur 17 per cent and Nagaland 20 per cent — said the report. In the next phase of the survey, the NDDTC is coming up with reports of prevalence of substance abuse under the different categories of homeless, sex-workers, transgenders, prisoners, students, transport workers.