Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
18 FEB 2019 2:40PM by PIB Delhi
NDDTC, AIIMS submits report “Magnitude of Substance use in India” to M/O Social Justice & Empowerment

National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi submitted its Report “Magnitude of Substance Use in India” sponsored by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot in his office here today. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Vijay Sampla was present on the occasion. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has conducted a “National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India” through the NDDTC of AIIMS, New Delhi during 2018 which provides data at the National level as well as at the State level. The Survey was conducted by a team of NDDTC led by Dr. Atul Ambekar.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Gehlot said that the State governments and all other stake holders including NGOs and Drug De-addiction centres will be consulted to formulate guidelines and action plan to counter the menace of drug abuse. He said that this Survey conducted at the National level as well as at the State level is first of its kind which has been officially released today.

The last National Survey on the extent, pattern and trend of drug abuse was sponsored by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the year 2000-2001. The report was published in 2004.  However, the Survey did not give any State level estimates.

A combination of two data collection approaches was employed in this Survey:

  1. A Household Survey (HHS) was conducted among the representative, general population (10-75 years old) of all the 36 states and UTs of the country. This was aimed primarily at studying the use of common, legal substances (like Alcohol and Cannabis). At the national level, a total of 200,111 households were visited in 186 districts and a total of 473,569 individuals were interviewed.


  1. A Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) survey along with multiplier approach was conducted in 123 districts among 70,293 people suffering from dependence on illicit drugs. This was aimed primarily for estimating the prevalence of dependence on illicit drug (since the HHS tends to underestimate illicit drug use).


Substance categories studied were: Alcohol, Cannabis (Bhang and Ganja/Charas), Opioids (Opium, Heroin and Pharmaceutical Opioids), Cocaine, Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), Sedatives, Inhalants and Hallucinogens.


Major findings of this Survey at the National level as well as at the State level are as follows :

  1. Alcohol :
  1. At the national level, about 14.6% of people (among 10-75 year old) are current users of alcohol, i.e. about 16 Crore people. Prevalence is 17 times higher among men than women.
  2. Among people consuming alcohol in India, Country liquor (‘desi’) (about 30%) and spirits (IMFL – Indian Made Foreign Liquor) (about 30%) are the predominantly consumed beverages.
  3. About 5.2% of Indians (more than 5.7 crore people) are estimated to be affected by harmful or dependent alcohol use. In other words, every third alcohol user in India needs help for alcohol related problems.
  4. States with the high prevalence of alcohol use are Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa.
  5. States with high prevalence (more than 10%) of alcohol use disorders are: Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Arunachal Pradesh.


(b) Cannabis :

  1. About 2.8% of Indians (3.1 Crore individuals) report having used any cannabis product within past 12 months (Bhang – 2% or 2.2 crore people; Ganja/Charas – 1.2% or 1.3 Crore people).
  2. About 0.66% of Indian (or approximately 72 lakh individuals) need help for their cannabis use problems.
  3. Though bhang use is more common than ganja/charas, prevalence of harmful/dependent use is proportionately higher for ganja/charas users.
  4. States with the higher than national prevalence of cannabis use are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.
  5. In some states the prevalence of cannabis use disorders is considerably higher (more than thrice) than the national average (e.g. Sikkim, Punjab).


(c) Opioids :

  1. At the national level, the most common opioid used is Heroin, (current use 1.14%) followed by Pharmaceutical opioids (current use 0.96%) and then Opium (current use 0.52%).
  2. Prevalence of current use of opioids, overall is 2.06% and about 0.55% of Indians are estimated to need help for their opioid use problems (harmful use and dependence). More people are dependent upon Heroin than Opium and Pharmaceutical Opioids.
  3. Of the total estimated approximately 60 lakh people with opioid use disorders (harmful or dependent pattern) in the country, more than half are contributed by just a few states: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
  4. In terms of percentage of population affected, the top states in the country are those in the north east (Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur) along with Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.


(d) Sedatives and Inhalants :

  1. About 1.08% of 10-75 year old Indians (approximately 1.18 crore people) are current users of sedatives (non-medical, non-prescription use).
  2. States with the highest prevalence of current Sedative use are Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. However, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the top five states which house the largest populations of people using sedatives.
  3. Inhalants are the only category of substances for which the prevalence of current use among children and adolescents is higher (1.17%) than adults (0.58%).
  4. At the national level, an estimated 4.6 lakh children and 18 lakh adults need help for their inhalant use (harmful use / dependence).
  5. In terms of absolute numbers, states with high population of children needing help for inhalant use are: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana.


(e) Cocaine (0.10%) Amphetamine Type Stimulants (0.18%) and Hallucinogens (0.12%) are the categories with lowest prevalence of current use in India.


(f) Nationally, it is estimated that there are about 8.5 Lakh People Who Inject Drugs (PWID). High numbers of PWID are estimated in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Nagaland. Opioid group of drugs are predominantly injected by PWID (heroin – 46% and pharmaceutical opioids – 46%). A substantial proportion of PWID report risky injecting practices.


Access to treatment Services: In general, access to treatment services for people affected by substance use disorders is grossly inadequate. Just about one in 38 people with alcohol dependence report getting any treatment. Only about one in 180 people with alcohol dependence report getting inpatient treatment / hospitalization for help with alcohol problems. Among people suffering from dependence on illicit drugs, one among 20 people has ever received inpatient treatment/ hospitalization for help with drug problems.


Click here for report -Magnitude of  Substance use in India. 



NB/SK/jk/SJ&E/ 18-02-2019