Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Alcohol Use among School-Going Adolescent Boys and Girls in an Industrial Town of Assam, India

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Alcohol Use among School-Going Adolescent Boys and Girls in an Industrial Town of Assam, India

Article excerpt

Byline: Beauty. Mahanta, P. Mohapatra, N. Phukan, J. Mahanta

Background: Some people in Northeast India prepare rice-based alcoholic drinks in the household. People use these drinks in religious and social functions, and these are taken even in the presence of parents and elders. Easy access to illicit substances in industrial towns and lack of social inhibition for intake of homemade alcohol might increase the vulnerability of youth to these habits. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of alcoholic drink user among school-going adolescent students in an industrial town of Assam. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was designed to collect the data using a predesigned questionnaire. Personal interview was conducted to collect the data about pattern of alcohol use, type of alcoholic drinks they use, duration, and information about parents and peer. Data were analyzed using Epi-info 17 and Statistical Package for Social Sciences-17.0 (Chicago, USA, SPSS Inc.). Results: About 36% out of 1285 students have tasted/used homemade alcoholic drinks (HADs) and 12.3% used commercially available alcoholic drinks (CADs). Significantly higher numbers (P < 0.001) of adolescent students (≥15 years) used CAD in comparison to children (<15 years). However, the number of younger students was higher in using HAD. Minimum age at first experience of CAD was 7 years and that of HAD was 4 years; the duration varied from 1 to 8 years and 1–15 years, respectively. Parent's behavior of taking tobacco and/or alcohol influenced the habit of their children. Father's habit was found to be associated with male offspring's habit of taking CAD. About 16% of the students used one or more substances along with alcohol. Conclusion: High percentage of adolescents in the industrial town of Assam use alcoholic drinks with a male preponderance. They taste alcoholic drinks at a very young age. Parent's indulgence in taking tobacco, alcohol, or both was found to influence higher intake by their offspring.

Introduction

Alcohol abuse is a major public health problem across the globe. Globally, about 50% of population takes alcohol and about 20% smokes tobacco. Besides alcohol and tobacco, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, sedatives, and various stimulants are used across the globe. In India, various forms of addictive substances such as tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, opium, and opiates [sup][1] and cough syrups are abused orally and some are used parentally. Tobacco and alcohol abuse are very high in some of the states of Northeast India.[sup][2] Adolescence being the formative period of life, boys and girls start the habit under peer pressure, household influence, parental influence, and by dint of inquisitive mind and experimentation. In many parts of India, including northeast, alcoholic drinks are prepared in households taking rice as main ingredient or other available ingredients by fermentation while some people use these alcoholic drinks in religious and social functions. Further, homemade alcoholic drinks (HADs) are used in front of parents and elders in social functions without inhibition. As such, in most cases, adolescent boys and girls get the taste of alcoholic drinks in the early part of life. They continue in tolerable doses; later, some of them shift to commercially available alcoholic drinks (CADs), and gradually, they become habitual drinker or addicts.

Substance abuse is reported to be more in industrial towns. Especially, easy access to illicit substances, available pocket money, and other factors make youth and adolescent boys and girls vulnerable to these habits. Most of the employees of the industry along with their family stay within the township. Alcoholic drinks are available with many commercial outlets as well as HADs prepared from rice are also available in and around the township. Not much data are available on the status of substance abuse among the youth in Assam, especially in industrial town where population is supposed to be more vulnerable. …

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