The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the World Drug Report 2016 on Sunday. The report pays special attention to the impact of drug abuse on health as well behaviour patterns, particularly violence on women and children.
Providing an insight into the effect of drug abuse in India, the report sheds light on the spread of HIV epidemics among the general population not only through infected syringes but also through heterosexual contact, from predominantly male consumers of drugs to their spouses and other sexual partners due to lack of protected intercourse using, for example, a condom.
The report also says that that there is an indirect relation between drug use and sexual behaviour of people.
“It has been hypothesized that the use of certain drugs increases or decreases sexual desire and levels of sexual activity and has a disinhibiting effect, making users less likely to engage in safer sex, thus exacerbating the negative health impact of drug use,” says the report.
Cocaine and ATS have been found to be the most common stimulants associated with high risk sexual behaviour and HIV transmission.
The other worrying effect of drug use by men in India is the impact it has on the women of the family, as per the report. In a study of over 4,000 women who were with men who injected drugs, it was found that unsupportive partners, diagnosable mental health problems, poor decision-making powers and economic dependence characterised these women.
The women also have a high rate of exposure to domestic violence but low rate of seeking help. UNODC documented that out of a sample of 179 women in India, physical violence by a male family member currently using drugs was reported by 43 percent and verbal aggression was reported by 53%.
The report further projects that women consuming drugs are also at a higher risk of getting abused by their partners or law enforcement personnel and data on them is hard to project.