Sikkim has high drug use prevalence in country

Wed, Sep 11, 2019

Sikkim has the highest prevalence of cannabis, pharmaceutical opioids, sedatives and inhalants use in the country. At least 15.61 percent of the State’s population use sedatives, 4.58 percent use inhalants, 18.74 percent use opioids and 10.94 percent use cannabis, according to a government survey report.
The national survey on extent and pattern of substance use in India further points out that prevalence of alcohol use in the State is however lower than the national average in Sikkim with 15.6 percent of people using alcohol way behind Chattisgarh and Tripura having around 35 and 34 percent alcohol use prevalence respectively. The national average of alcohol use stands at 14.6 percent of the country’s population.
A substantial number of people use psychoactive substances in India, and substance use exists in all the population groups, but adult men bear the brunt of substance use disorders.  Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians. Nationally, about 14.6% of the population (aged 10 to 75 years) uses alcohol or 16 crore persons consume alcohol in the country.
After alcohol, cannabis is the next commonly used substances in India and Sikkim (10.94%) is second in the chart led by Punjab (12.55%) while Uttar Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh have 7.36% cannabis use. The national average of cannabis use is 2.83 percent or about 3.1 crore persons, as per the report.
Another 2.26 crore individuals in India use opioids which includes opium, heroin and a variety of pharmaceutical opioids. Mizoram (6.90%) has the highest percentage of opioids users in the country followed by Nagaland (6.50%), Arunachal Pradesh (5.70%) and Sikkim (5.10%). Overall in the country, the prevalence of current use of any opioid was 2.06%. Heroin is the most commonly used opioid in India (1.14 %). This was followed by pharmaceutical opioids (0.96%) and opium (0.52%).
The survey indicates that a sizeable number of individuals use sedatives and inhalants. About 1.08% or about 1.18 crore people (10-75 years) are current users of sedatives (non-medical, non-prescription use). States with the highest prevalence of current sedative use are Sikkim (2.91%), Nagaland (1.75%), Manipur (1.43%) and Mizoram (1.26%). However, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the top five States which house the largest populations of people using sedatives.
Inhalant is the only drug category in which prevalence is higher among children andadolescents as compared to adult population. These are chemical products which share the common characteristic of being used by inhalational route and possessingpsychoactive properties (dependence liability). Overall, at the national level, 0.70% ofIndians aged 10-75 years are current users of inhalant products. Prevalence in Sikkim is 7.97 percent after Arunachal Pradesh with 8.65 percent current users.
The National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi was entrusted with the responsibility to lead the technical and scientific aspects of the national survey which was conducted in all the 36 States and UTs of the country to assess the extent and pattern of substance use in each State and UT. This survey also indicates that there are wide variations in extent and prevalence of use across different States and between various substances.
Considering the enormous challenge of substance use disorders in the country, the report sought for an urgent need of policies and programmes which can bring relief to the large number of affected Indian citizens. It is imperative that these policies and programmes are based upon the scientific evidence and take into consideration the local, socio-cultural context.  It said scientific evidence-based treatment needs to be made available for people with substance use disorders – at the required scale.
The report also pointed out a gross mismatch between demand and availability oftreatment services for substance use disorders in the country. Considering the large numbers of people who need treatment and the poor availability of treatment services, India needs massive investments in enhancing the avenues for treatment. Along with the government sector, the civil society and the non-government sector needs to be roped in, it added.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi