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World drug survey: Indians lead the world in seeking help to reduce drug intake

A global survey on recreational drug use, which for the first time surveyed respondents in India, found that Indians, more than other nationalities, are seeking help to reduce their alcohol consumption.

Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis were the most common stimulants used by Indians. Of the nearly 1,00,000 respondents from 30 countries, Indians reported that they "got drunk" an average of 41 times in the last 12 months: behind the United Kingdom, the United States. U.S., Canada, Australia and Denmark in that order, but well above the world average of 33 times.

The World Drug Survey (GDS) is an anonymous online survey that uses a detailed questionnaire to assess trends in drug use and self-reported harm among regular users of drugs and the first to adopt new trends. Although the survey is not designed to determine the prevalence of drug behavior in a population, it sheds light on the "stigmatized behaviors and health outcomes of a hidden population to which, moreover, it is difficult to achieve … and can be used to inform specific interventions ", according to A description of the organization in 2018 editorial in the medical journal. Lancet.

Indian respondents to the survey, conducted online from October to December 2018, appeared more than other nationalities eager to help reduce their alcohol consumption. According to the GDS of 2019, 51% of the respondents wanted to "drink less" in the following year and 41% "wanted help to do it", again the highest percentage among the other countries.

"It could genuinely reflect the high levels of concern among drinkers for being aware of consuming at levels that are known to be harmful," Adam Winstock, among the key authors of the survey, said in an email. Mr. Winstock is a psychiatrist and founder and director of GDS in London.

About 6% of Indian women surveyed reported seeking "emergency medical treatment" in the last 12 months. The female world average was around 13%.

None of the men in India reported seeking medical treatment, compared to the world average of 12%.

71% enjoy being drunk

The Indians said they "enjoyed being drunk" 71% of the time, close to the world average of 74% and 15 places below the world leader Portugal, whose respondents enjoyed 82% of the time.

Adam Winstock, one of the key authors of the survey, emphasized that there were only about 850 respondents from India and that they did not represent the largest population.

The Indians surveyed were mostly men and 25 to 34 years old. A third of the respondents "had gone to the nightclubs" at least 4 times in the last year.

While 43% of the approximately 250 Indians surveyed reported having used cannabis and 44% of them said they got it from "known distributors", 21% said they got their "friends" dose.

Less cannabis

Only 2% sought emergency medical treatment after consuming cannabis, but, like alcohol consumption, 51% said they wanted to use "less cannabis" the following year; more than any other nationality and well above the world average of 31%.

Apart from alcohol and tobacco, the most widely used drugs worldwide were cannabis, MDMA (or Ecstacy), cocaine, amphetamines, LSD (or "acid"), magic mushrooms, benzodiazepines, opioids sale with prescription, ketamine and nitrous oxide.

The survey also found that approximately 14% (11,000) reported having been sexually exploited while intoxicated in their lives and 4% in the past 12 months. There were no figures from India available.

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