A newly published survey in India has ranked Punjab first in the list of highest alcohol consumption amongst children with 1.2 Lakh children in the age group of 10 thru 17 years from the state said to be consuming alcohol. The research has ranked West Bengal as second, with Maharashtra coming third.
The survey titled ‘Magnitude of Substance use in India’, released by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, AIIMS, mentioned that the highest number of alcohol consumers in the country amongst children is thrice the national average, Times of India reported.
The lead author of the survey told the newspaper that due to strict regulation in the supply, people have switched over from alcohol to other substance. He noted that the prevailing situation could be avoided by “treating users as patients and not as criminals”.
The study however is silent on how many of these consumers will be converted into dependents. “It takes over a decade for the users to get addicted to any substance. However, the estimate number of users are indicators and we need to adapt evidence-based strategies instead of spreading awareness which has proved to be a weak strategy till now,” said Ambekar.
The number of medical related issues are also high due to the consumption. 150 patients from Punjab diagnosed with alcohol-induced pancreatitis come annually to the PGI. “The numbers are high, as such a problem becomes symptomatic after many years of alcohol consumption. We have been seeing many patients from Punjab,” said Rakesh Kochhar, of the department of gastroenterology, PGI.