Modi’s Concern About Substance Abuse Among Youth Valid

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a video conference speech on October 5, 2017  that society would be “ruined” over the next 20-25 years if growing substance abuse and addiction among younger Indians was not checked.

 

“If we let this grow, then in 20-25 years, our society will be ruined,” he said. “If such addiction enters our youth and our families, it will pain our older generation a lot.”

 

 

We found Modi was right in expressing concern.

 

As many as 22.4% (1 in five) people over 18 years suffer from substance-abuse disorders (SUDs), according to the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 (NMHS). The survey was conducted by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), based in Bangalore, among 34,802 individuals across 12 states.

 

The prevalence of SUDs was 13.54% among those aged 18 to 29 and 24.58% among the 30-39  age group.

 

Psychoactive SUDs include alcohol, opioids, cannabinoids, sedatives and hypnotics, cocaine, other stimulants, hallucinogens, volatile solvents and tobacco.

 

The study found that tobacco-use disorders account for 20.9% of SUDs, more than any other disorder, followed by alcohol  (4.6%).

 

Males (35.7%) were struck more by SUDs than females (10.05%), as Modi said.

 

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Source: National Mental Health Survey 2015-16
Note: All figures in percentages.

 

The per capita consumption of alcohol in India has increased 38%, from 1.6 litres in 2003-05 to 2.2 litres in 2010-12, according to this 2014 World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

 

More than 11% of Indians were binge drinkers-the practice of consuming large quantities of alcohol in a single session, usually defined as five or more drinks at one time for a man, or four or more drinks at one time for a woman–against the global average of 16%, IndiaSpend reported on May 25, 2016.

 

Substance-Use Disorders, By Age Group
Characteristics Prevalence of any substance use disorder
Total 22.44
Age Group
18-29 13.54
30-39 24.58
40-49 29.21
50-59 29.4
60+ 27.78
Gender
Male 35.67
Female 10.05
Residence
Rural 24.12
Urban non- metro 20.27
Urban metro 18.28

Source: National Mental Health Survey 2015-16
Note: All figures in percentages

 

Rajasthan (38.9%) reported the highest rate of SUDs, followed by Madhya Pradesh (36.6%) and Chhattisgarh (32.4%), the survey found. Punjab, a state infamous for high drug-addiction rates, reported a prevalence rate of 11%.

 

There are nearly 230,000 opioid dependent and 860,000 opioid users in Punjab, according to the 2015 Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey, IndiaSpend reported on February 3, 2017.

 

Substance-led disorders were higher in rural India than urban, metro and non-metro areas, since an average household in rural India spends more money on alcohol and tobacco than on preventive healthcare, according to a survey by Chrome Data Analytics and Media, which tracked 50,000 villages across 19 states, Quartz India reported on November 1, 2016.

 

Note:

 

  1. The Youth in India 2017  report by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation defines youth as those aged between 18-34 years.

 

  1. Prevalence rate refers to prevalence of SUDs among the surveyed population in these states.

 

(Saha is an MA Gender and Development student at Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.)