PUDUCHERRY: The prevalence of alcohol consumption was found very high in Puducherry as compared to national levels.
According to a study on ‘Prevalence and determinants of alcohol consumption among adult men in a coastal area of South India’ by the Departments of Community Medicine in Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) here and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), it was found that the prevalence of alcohol consumption among adult men was 59.6 per cent in the coastal area of Puducherry.
This is much higher than the national prevalence of alcohol consumption, which is at 21 per cent among men and two per cent among women in India, according to the National Survey on the Extent, Pattern and Trends of Drug Abuse in India, a joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Factors such as lower literacy level, having family history of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking were found to be positively associated with alcohol consumption.
The community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Kalapet region, a coastal area here, by researchers Dr Muthurajesh Easwaran, Dr Joy Bazroy, Dr Zile Singh of PIMS and Dr Venkatachalam Jayaseelan of JIPMER. It covered Kanagachettikulam, Chinnakalpet, Periyakalapet and Pillaichavady. The study area has 6,000 households with a population of 17,000, with main occupation being fishing, followed by agriculture.
Of the 500 adult men interviewed for the study, maximum (37.8 per cent) were in the age group 31 to 40 years and majority (80.2 per cent) were married. Maximum (26.6 per cent) of the participants had studied up to high school and approximately 40.4 per cent belonged to upper lower class.
The consumption of alcohol was 24.4 per cent in the 21 to 30 age group, 37.8 per cent in the 31 to 40 age group, 20.6 per cent in the 41 to 50 age group and 17.2 per cent in above 50 group.
The proportion of alcohol consumption was higher among persons with lower educational status. Individuals with lower education had the highest risk to be an alcohol consumer compared to those with higher educational status. Smoking and paternal history of alcohol consumption were found to be significantly associated with alcohol consumption.
This is of concern in the context of a hospital-based study showing that 60 per cent of all injuries reported to the emergency ward were due to alcohol use. Another study has shown that 18 per cent of all brain injuries reporting to emergency ward were attributed to alcohol use. The study asked the government to initiate measures to improve the educational status of the community.