Hyderabad: There is no dearth of ‘spirited’ souls in the country, if a report of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is any indication. The number of those who are ‘high’ is also not too low.
The report, based on a survey by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, under the aegis of the Ministry, found that a staggering 16 crore people in the country consume alcohol, while 3.1 crore people use cannabis products and 2.26 crore use opioids. As if these were not enough, the report says 1.18 crore persons use sedatives, with about 2.9 crore individuals suffering from alcohol dependence. There are 25 lakh people who suffer from cannabis dependence while another 28 lakh are opioid dependence.
Around 11.8 lakh are using sedatives in dependent pattern, it says. The national survey on the extent and pattern of substance use in 2018 had the NDDTC being entrusted with the responsibility to lead technical and scientific aspects. Based on the report, the Ministry has prepared a national action plan to reduce drug demand for 2018-2025 — aimed at reducing adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of the affected individuals and their families.
The focus is mainly on preventive education, awareness generation, identification, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent persons. It has also been decided to give training and to go for capacity building of service providers through collaborative efforts of Central and State governments along with non-governmental organisations.
The Ministry has been implementing a scheme for prevention of alcoholism and drug abuse since 1985-86. Under the scheme, financial assistance up to 90 per cent of the approved expenditure is given to voluntary organisations and other eligible agencies for setting up Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts (IRCAs).
In the case of north-eastern States, Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir, the quantum of assistance is 95 per cent of the total admissible expenditure. Under the scheme, the Ministry is assisting 461 IRCAs, including 10 in Telangana. It released Rs 40.82 lakh during 2019-20 as on June 20 to Telangana towards this.