Drug and Alcoholism in India

Mains Marks Booster     3rd August 2023        


  • That’s all drugs and alcohol do, they cut off your emotions in the end. – Ringo Starr
  • There’s not a drug on Earth that can make life meaningful.
  • Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem.” – Kurt Cobain


  • Growing Drugs and alcohol consumption in India is becoming a major health hazard and a social menace. 
  • State like Punjab, North – Eastern States, Jammu & Kashmir have become home of drug abuse.
  • Hooch Tragedy
  • In recent incident, over 40 people died in Gujarat’s Botad district
  • 7 years since Bihar liquor ban: 199 deaths, 30 hooch cases (Police dat)
  • These highlights the limitations of prohibition in addressing it; calling for a change in approach to address growing alcohol consumption




Individual liberty Vs. Constitutional responsibilities under DPSPs

  • Ethical Dilemma over relation between State and Individual, i.e., whether to protect individual liberty or autonomy under Fundamental Rights or fulfil constitutional responsibilities under DPSPs to intervene in public health matters. 

Revenues generation vs. Health and social issues

Ethical Dilemma over contribution of liquor business in government revenues and its duty to protect weak, vulnerable, and impressionable individuals.

Individuals and families

Right of Freedom of Choice Vs. Privacy of Individuals

    • Alcohol consumption leads to multiple chronic health issues, social violence and increased road accidents (8,355 accidents in 2020). 
    • Need to reduce domestic violence against women and children caused in inebriated situation. 
Avoiding indebtedness by reducing money spent on alcohol.

Liquor Industry

Tax collection/Job Opportunities Vs. marketing products with harmful impact on individual

    • Ethical Dilemma of marketing products with harmful impact on individuals and families to maximize profits or follow Social Responsibility to encourage sensible drinking. 
Protecting jobs in the liquor industry by overcoming the challenges from illegal liquor business which grows due to prohibition.

Local Administration

    • Effective implementation of laws to curb the illegal liquor industry. 
Increasing awareness among people on ills of liquor consumption, helping to reduce crimes committed by intoxicated people


Social norms Vs. Personal discretion

    • Ethical Dilemma over use of social norms or social pressure to protect relationships and families or leave it to personal discretion of individuals with limited moderation. 
Also, within societies, the views on alcohol consumption differ as in some it is part of socio-religious rituals while others call to abstain.

Ethical Skillset for a civil servant while taking action

  • Emotional Intelligence: To understand and manage the emotions of individuals and communications regarding alocohol consumption.
  • Compassion: Towards women and children who face most of the social violence due to Alcoholism.
  • Selflessness: To ensure action taken on public interests.
  • Leadership skills: To influence people’s attitude and persuade them to overcome the bad habits of alcoholism through diligence.

Way Forwards

  • Progressive Laws: These encourage responsible behavior and compliance while being strong against domestic violence, drunk driving or illegal liquor industry or its smuggling.
  • Ex. Uniform drinking age law across the country where no person below that should be permitted to buy alcohol. 
  • Regulations over liquor Industry:  It will avoid indirect marketing tactics to promote liquor consumption (e.g., surrogate marketing) and also curb illicit liquor production. 
  • This could avert hootch tragedy which frequently occurs in states like Bihar, Gujarat etc.
  • Labeling Standards:  With adequate notices and cautions to help people in making informed decisions. 
  • Avoiding Arbitrary or Discretionary actions: while containing negative fallouts of prohibition on tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector. 
  • Use of Corporate Social Responsibility:  To ensure responsible drinking and increasing the de-addiction facilities. 
  • Community Participation: Gathering community support to avoid addiction and rehabilitate people suffering from addiction. 
  • Awareness: Information, Education and Awareness (IEC) campaigns from state and district administration to educate people about the ill effects of alcoholism.
Conclusion: With differing socio-religious opinions and dilemmas faced by multiple stakeholders, a participatory approach becomes vital for a good public policy. It can help in creating an atmosphere where each stakeholder, including individuals, understands their responsibility.
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