Drug addiction soars in Punjab

Chandigarh–More than three million people, mostly men, in Punjab use one or another type of drug. Alcohol is the most consumed substance by more than two million people, followed by tobacco consumed by more than 1.5 million people, according to a study by the Postgraduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).

Opioid abuse affects 1.7 lakh individuals, followed by cannabinoids as well as sedative-inhalant stimulants. The latter are largely a class of pharmacological or prescription drugs used illicitly.

There is also a large number of injecting drug users in Punjab with high HIV prevalence (19.5 percent), according to the recent survey.

It was published in the second edition of “Roadmap for Substance Abuse Prevention and Control in Punjab”.

Edited by JS Thakur, Professor of Community Medicine at PGIMER, it was released by Governor of Punjab Banwarilal Purohit in the presence of PGIMER Director Surjit Singh and Director of Health Services GB Singh.

The report contains information on the drug abuse burden in the country and in Punjab, different types of substances used by people, prevention and control strategies and the district drug abuse prevention plan and its implementation .

According to the Punjab State Household Survey (SPHS) and the statewide STEPS NCD Survey conducted by PGIMER, the expected number of overall substance use in Punjab is 15 .4%.

The book is in a simple form, easily understood by technicians and laypersons.

“The book incorporated some interesting case studies from different parts of Punjab. He advocated for the introduction of life skills education into school and college curricula. It also emphasizes the peer group approach in educational institutions, which is an effective way to motivate adolescents and young adults. Since the emphasis is on prevention, the life-cycle approach actually speaks to individuals of all age groups,” Thakur said.

The Governor appreciated the role of public health approaches in addressing these social threats. He agreed with the essence of this report — prevention is better than cure in all respects. (IANS)