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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Over 2 million people in Punjab abuse liquor

The report contains comprehensive data on the burden of substance abuse in India and the state of Punjab, various substances abused by people, strategies for prevention and control, the district substance abuse prevention plan, and implementation.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
February 22, 2022 4:31:07 am
Punjab: Dhanas liquor vend in Chandigarh gets highest bid of Rs 11.55 crore in e-auctionA Liquor Vend at Dhanas in Chandigarh. (Express File/Jasbir Malhi)

“Alcohol is the most abused substance by more than two million people in Punjab, followed by tobacco consumed by more than 1.5 million people, and opioids consumed by 1.7 lakh individuals. There are also a large number of injecting drug users in the state with a high prevalence of HIV (19.5 per cent) in a recent survey. Besides, many people also use cannabinoids as well as sedative-inhalant-stimulants.”

These were the findings of a report on substance abuse by Dr JS Thakur, Professor, department of community medicine and school of public health, PGI.

The second edition of Roadmap for Prevention and Control of Substance Abuse in Punjab, ‘Tandarust Atey Nasha Mukt Punjab’, edited by Dr JS Thaku was released Monday by Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Punjab and Administrator, UT Chandigarh.

The report contains comprehensive data on the burden of substance abuse in India and the state of Punjab, various substances abused by people, strategies for prevention and control, the district substance abuse prevention plan, and implementation.

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“In April 2015, the Punjab government had invited us to evolve a programme for the state to give a comprehensive plan focusing on the burden, prevention, and control of drug addiction in the state. This was followed by a series of discussions, brainstorming sessions for a period of six to seven months, workshops and discussions with various agencies to evolve strategies to control substance abuse, an implementation plan and the role of different stakeholders,” said Prof Thakur.

As per the State of Punjab Household Survey (SPHS) and state-wide NCD STEPs Survey by PGI, the projected number of overall substance use in Punjab is 15.4 per cent. If translated to an absolute number, it means that more than three million people in Punjab are currently consuming some drug, with the number higher among men.

According to a recent survey, there are a large number of injecting drug users with a high prevalence of HIV (19.5 per cent).

“There is a high prevalence of injecting drug users who are also suffering from Hepatitis B, C, with school and college students experimenting with drugs. Peer pressure is a major factor driving young people towards substance abuse,” said Prof Thakur.

The book comprises basic information on various types of drugs and their effect on the body. It also discusses the impact of substance abuse on teens, younger and older adults. Key features of the book include comprehensive information on the development of strategies of prevention and control of substance abuse and implementation guidelines with an estimated budget required for a five-year plan. There are provisions for setting up of the state, regional resource and training centres in a decentralised manner, and the service delivery under the plan covers village, block, and district level and can be evaluated every five years,” said Prof Thakur.

The plan itself is a self-sustained strategy, which will work towards supply, demand and measures to reduce harm. The supply reduction strategy will involve targeting illegal drugs and attempts to disrupt the distribution and supply chains of those drugs. It is time for the government to actively implement a plan as Punjab is already suffering due to a great burden of substance dependence and addiction. Only curative services are not going to break the chain of supply and demand. The book is a result of a team effort and intensive workshops and incorporates interesting case studies from different parts of Punjab. It advocates the introduction of life skills education in the school and college curriculum and emphasises the peer group approach in educational institutions which is an effective way to motivate adolescents and young adults.

 

 

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