The Government is cognizant of the fact that consumption of alcohol in excessive amounts can lead to social economic and health related problems.
A study conducted by NIMHANS for WHO published in the year 2006 shows that nearly 30% of adult men and less than 5% of women consume alcohol giving a male to female ratio of 6:1.
Alcohol use is higher in poor communities. The average age of initiation has reduced from 28 years during the 80s to 20 years in recent years.
This information was given by the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss in a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
Alcoholism could lead to liver disease and brain damage, gastro intestinal diseases, peptic ulcer, pancreatic diseases, nervous system related diseases, alcoholic dementia, alcoholic memory loss, peripheral nerve damage, muscle damage, cancer of several body organs, hypertension and coronary heart diseases etc. Besides severed health problems, accidents also take place resulting in head injuries and hospitalization.
The policy with regard to sale and distribution of alcohol is within the purview of the State Governments. Therefore, the efforts made to contain the damage done by alcoholism vary from State to State. The business of alcohol is a controlled one and without a licence issued by the respective State Government, no one can sell alcoholic beverages. Selling of alcoholic beverages to minors is prohibited. A high rate of State excise duty is levied to dissuade people from consuming alcohol. Advertisements of alcoholic beverages have been banned by the Government.
Apart from this, clinical care, building awareness, counseling and rehabilitation is made available through de-addiction centres and counseling centres run/funded by the Government.