After a hiatus of 15 years, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of AIIMS, will conduct a survey to compile national and state level estimates of people involved in drug abuse.
The two year-long survey will map the presence of services and interventions for drug dependent individuals and identify the gaps in service delivery.
The last such survey was conducted in 2001 and the data were published in 2004.
The project is estimated to cost around Rs 22.41 crore. India’s place is shown as vacant in the annual World Drug Report, with no data available for the last several years.
“The need for the survey was felt in the absence of a nation-wide data on people who use drugs and people who are drug dependent.
“Additionally, India being a signatory (to various international conventions on drug abuse) is expected to report to international agencies (like United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and World Health Organisation) on questions related to data on extent of substance use in India. In such instances, government has to rely on the 15-year-old data,” said a senior Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry official.
According to the official, the earlier survey did not provide any data on prevalence of substance abuse at the state-level, neither did it provide data on prevalence of drug problem among women population.
The drugs include all those listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) and has categories like alcohol, tobacco, opioids, sedative-hypnotics, cannabis, stimulants, hallucinogens and inhalants, said Dr Atul Ambekar, additional professor at NDDTC and principal investigator of the survey.
“The study will include a household survey to determine the proportion of people who use drugs and people who are drug dependent.
“Besides, there will be focused thematic studies on specific topics or vulnerable populations which will include studying the pattern of drug abuse among the homeless, prison residents, transgenders, female sex workers, transport workers (truck, taxi drivers, cleaners etc), said Ambekar.
The questions during the interview will pertain to socio- demographic data, substance abuse pattern, its consequences, availability of services, and knowledge and attitude towards the problem.
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