The consumption of liquor in Karnataka has gone up by 77% in the last 11 years, reporting a 7% annual average growth.
Nationally, 14.6% of the population (between 10 and 75 years of age) uses alcohol. The use of alcohol is considerably higher among men (27.3%) compared to women (1.6%). Among alcohol users, country liquor or ‘desi sharab’ (about 30%) and spirits or Indian Made Foreign Liquor (about 30%) are the predominantly consumed beverages.
Alcohol use has been reported in all the age groups, including among children aged 10-17 years. Further, about one in five alcohol using men suffer from alcohol dependence, while only one in sixteen alcohol using women is dependent on it.
More than half of the male population of some states consume alcohol. An overwhelming majority of alcohol users are males (about 95%) and fall in the age bracket of 18-49 years (74%).
In Karnataka, 40.3% alcohol users drink alcohol in a dependent manner.
Overall in the country, about 5.2% of the population aged 10-75 years (about 5.7 crore individuals) need help for their alcohol use problems (i.e. they consume alcohol in a harmful or dependent pattern).
Dr. Arun Kandasamaya, Additional Professor of Psychiatry, Centre for Addiction Medicine, NIMHANS Hospital said, “There are two factors, biological and environmental factors responsible for alcohol addiction. Biological factors include genetic factors, stress or any adverse changes in mind that makes the young children to experiment or be addicted to it. The environmental factors include peer pressure, availability, accessibility and toxic stress. The aggressive, anxious people, easily depressed people or the outgoing people who start experimenting early are more prone to get addicted.”
There are 120 rehabilitation centers in the city, and the number of patients has increased.
Dr. Ramesh, physical trainer, and instructor of a Rehabilitation Centre said, “The alcohol consumption has increased. The age group below 35 years is more inclined towards this. Financial issues, family disputes, and stress are some of the major reasons for the addiction. There is no medical treatment to cure this. After detoxification of the alcohol content from the patient’s body, it is only counseling, yoga, and meditation that helps patients to get over this addiction.”
Apart from personal health alcohol consumption has social harm also. As per the data by Traffic Management Centre, 31500 cases of drink and drive have been booked till now, this year.
ACP Ramesh K.N., South End Circle, West zone said, “This bad habit and fashion has become a reason for the death of many innocent people along with the alcohol user. If the person who meets with an accident dies, the whole family suffers. In Bangalore when the Govt. increased the fine to control the increase in the cases, people started protesting to reduce the fine. After reducing the fine, people are again showing negligence.”