The minister’s statement came in response to a calling attention motion introduced by BJP member RK Sinha.
New Delhi: Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians followed by cannabis and opioids, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday. Social justice and empowerment minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said over 16 crore people in the country consume alcohol, around 3.1 crore use Cannabis and about 77 lakh people take opioids. More than 5.7 crore alcohol users, 72 lakh cannabis users and about 77 lakh opioid users are addicted and need help, he added. The minister’s statement came in response to a calling attention motion introduced by BJP member R.K. Sinha.
Gehlot said the findings were part of a national household survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2018. “The report establishes that a substantial number of people use psychoactive substances in India and the substance use exists in all the population groups with adult men bearing the brunt of substance use disorders,” Gehlot said.
The survey also indicates that around 1.18 crore people between the age group of 10-75 years are taking sedatives and 77 lakh are using inhalents. Children and adolescents were found to be using inhalents more than others. The household sample survey covered all the 36 states and union territories of the country.
It was done in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), ten other medical institutes and a network of 15 NGOs. Over 1,500 personnel were involved in the data collection from population of age group between 10-75 years, he added.
During the survey over two lakh households were visited in 186 districts of the country and a total of 4,73,569 individuals were interviewed, he added. Gehlot said the government is also conducting a survey in ten cities across the country to assess the pattern and profile of substance use among school and college students.