Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use and repeated use
has one very key impact – it can alter the way the brain functions. There is a fine line
between regular use and abuse. As per the National Household Survey (2004), among
adult males about 21% are ‘current’ users of alcohol. Similar figures for cannabis and
opiates were about 3% and 0.7% respectively. Between 17% and 26% of these current
users were dependent users.
In absolute numbers, it was projected in this report that there were about 10.5 million
dependent alcohol users, about 2.3 million dependent cannabis users and about 500,000
opiate dependent users in the country. They constitute the current treatment load.
In India, a wide gap exists between the need for de-addiction services and the services
available at hand. The possible reasons include limited resources in terms of monetary
funds, availability of limited number of treatment centres, poor bed strength to provide deaddiction
services and lack of trained personnel. The health delivery system for drug
dependence in India has come up only in recent years. The drug-dependent patients are
managed in the Government de-addiction centres, psychiatry outpatient clinics as well as
the in-patient services of government hospitals. Private hospitals and private practitioners
are also involved in the provision of care to the drug dependent individuals.
There are several non-governmental organizations (NGO) also that are active in the field of
substance abuse treatment. These are voluntary organizations and usually non-profit
making. These organizations receive funding from the government and international donor
agencies. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is supporting more than 600
centres all over India.
The study on “Evaluation and Monitoring of Deaddiction
Centres” (2002) funded by Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare (India) and WHDO
(India) showed that many of the de-addiction
centres funded by the Ministry were either nonfunctioning
or poorly functioning. It was also
observed that the patient load in the treatment
centres was very low and the treatment centres
were not being adequately utilized. This was
partly because no additional staff or funding was
provided by the state government to enable the
centres to function adequately. It was also because
treatment seeking among drug users is low as has
also been shown by the National Survey on Extent,
Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse (2004). This showed that only about 2% of alcohol
users and 18% of opiate users had sought any kind of treatment in the past.