Chandigarh: In a report which reveals the extent of the drug menace in Punjab, it has been said that opioids worth Rs 7,500 crore are consumed in the state every year.
Of these, heroin's share is Rs 6,500 crore, says a new study by AIIMS.
Quoting the study by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) at AIIMS, The Times of India reports that out of around 2.77 crore people in Punjab, there are over 2.3 lakh opioid-dependent people, of whom 76 percent are aged between 18 and 35 years.
"Most common opioid drug used by this group is heroin (53 percent), followed by opium, doda and phukki (33 percent). The rest (14 percent) reported using a variety of pharmaceutical opioids. About one-third take their opioid drugs through injecting route and among them almost 90 percent (29 percent overall), inject heroin," the report said.
The survey further says that opioid-dependent people are spending approximately Rs 20 crore daily on these drugs. On an average, a heroin-dependent individual spends about Rs 1,400 per day.
Notably, nearly all of the heroin enters India over the Pakistan border, and by the smugglers backed by Pakistan's ISI.
Security agencies have so far insisted that Pakistani heroin is not consumed in Punjab; it merely passes through to bigger cities like Delhi, reports the daily.
However, the study - 'Punjab opioid dependence survey: Estimation of the size of opioid dependent population in Punjab' - reveals that Pakistan is not only using the drug smugglers to sneak terrorists into India, but also is making people of Punjab addictive of heroin.
The report also says that about 99 percent of the drug addict are males and 54 percent are married.
"A large majority (89 percent) are literate and have some degree of formal education. About 56 percent of opioid dependent people belong to rural areas and almost all 99 percent report Punjabi as their mother tongue.”
While as many as 80 percent of opioid dependent individuals tried to give up, only about 35 percent received any help. Evidence-based, effective treatment has been received by a minuscule proportion.
The survey covered 3,620 opioid dependent individuals across 10 districts -- Bathinda, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Patiala, Sangrur, Tarn Taran -- which together house about 60 percent of the population of Punjab.
The report, which has been released by the state government, also highlighted a huge gap in the availability of treatment services for opioid dependent individuals - despite significant demand.