Studies point to rising drug abuse among women in Punjab

Studies point to rising drug abuse among women in Punjab


  1. The problem of drug abuse among women is increasing in Punjab, according to the studies in Punjab.

Important facts:

2. The recent study titled ‘Epidemiology of Substance Use and Dependence in the State of Punjab’, by the faculty of PGIMER, pointed out the following  facts:

  • Number of women addicted to drugs is rising “alarmingly” in the State.
  • According to experts, social stigma, state of denial and lack of exclusive facilities are the key reasons why women are not coming forward for treatment.
  • The state government has been providing various treatment options for the youth, especially to males.
  • Punjab has 31 government de-addiction centres but there’s only onecentre exclusively for women- in Kapurthala, set up in 2017.
  • In Punjab almost 4.1 million people have been found to be using one substance or the other (licit or illicit) at least once in their lifetime.
  • Among the lifetime users, 4 million were men and around 0.1 million were women.
  • Number of people dependent on any substance in their lifetime was 3.2 million, with 3.1 million men and 0.1 million women.
  • Licit substances consist of alcohol and tobacco, and illicit substances are opioids, cannabinoids, inhalants, stimulants, and sedatives.
  • There were about 4.1 million lifetime users of licit substances and for illicit substances, the corresponding figure was 0.5 million.
  • Opioids (heroin, smack, crude opium, poppy husk etc) were by far the most commonly used illicit drugs in the State.
  • Around 2, 02,817 males and 10,658 females were found to be ‘lifetime dependent’ on opioids as per ICD-10 criteria.
  • While, 1, 56,942 males were found to be ‘currently dependent’ on opioids (as per ICD-10 criteria) the figure of females was 10,658.

3. Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey (PODS), 2014-15, which exclusively focussed on opioid dependence pointed out that:

  • Found 1% of females to be opioid dependants.
  • The data was collected from a total of 3,620 opioid-dependent individuals across 10 districts
  • The two main reasons for this seem to be social stigma and lack of exclusive facilities for females.
  • The Navjivan rehabilitation centre at Daulatpur in Patiala, has been witnessing an increase in queries on treatment of female drug addicts.

4. Another study on Punjab, conducted by The Institute for Development and Communication (2001), which covered eight districts of Punjab had revealed that consumption of poppy husk (bhukki), tablets and capsules were most popular amongst women.

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