Reduce Substance Abuse & Alcohol Consumption: Target 3.5

When you consume too much or in the wrong way alcohol, prescription drugs, and other legal and illicit substances, you develop the substance.

People frequently utilise substances to relax, unwind, or otherwise enjoy themselves, which can be dangerous when dangerous or illegal substances are used. However, an increasing number of people are developing a substance misuse disorder with a variety of legal substances.


Substance Abuse Types

Alcohol misuse and its devastating effects affect more than 17 million people, or one in every 12 adults. Alcohol use disorder, sometimes known as alcoholism, is characterized by obsessive drinking, a loss of control over what alcohol is consumed, and withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. Binge drinking (taking a large amount of alcohol in one sitting) and heavy drinking (consuming large amounts of alcohol multiple times each month) are two types of problem drinking that frequently lead to alcoholism. The following are symptoms of alcoholism:

  1. Irritability and extreme mood swings
  2. Making excuses for drinking, such as to relax or deal with stress
  3. Becoming isolated from friends and family
  4. Lying about how much alcohol is consumed
  5. Neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school
  6. Drinking alone or in secrecy
  7. Experiencing blackouts or short-term memory loss.

Drug use disorder, often known as drug addiction, can be caused by illegal narcotics, prescription pharmaceuticals, or a mix of both. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, steroids, and stimulants are all extremely addictive and therefore can quickly develop to an addiction. People with a substance use disorder continue to use despite the harm they cause to their health, relationships, and employment because drugs affect how the brain is wired and interact with its natural reward system. The following are signs of a drug addiction:

  1. Missing money or valuables
  2. Drastic changes in behaviour
  3. Frequently absent from school or work
  4. Lack of energy and motivation
  5. Sudden weight loss
  6. Difficulty speaking
  7. Neglected hygiene and appearance

Substance abuse during the covid-19 pandemic

 The coronavirus pandemic has already had a significant impact on health and social domains due to social and economic constraints. The COVID-19 epidemic has resulted in the installation of social distance in order to control the disease’s spread, causing people’s lifestyles to change. People have been experiencing fear and anxiety for your health and jobs, and they have been forced to live a foreign lifestyle without the support of their loved ones. Furthermore, those with mental illnesses may have become worse during the epidemic as a result of unknowingly reflecting others’ emotions. The above unusual environment could have pushed more people into deviant behaviour associated to lawful or illicit substance use, and it could have provided a chance for drug traffickers to acquire new consumers.

Even brief bouts of loneliness and isolation can have detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental health. Isolation can cause anxiety and rage, as well as sleep difficulties, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which may go undiagnosed due to a lack of appropriate screening methods. Furthermore, due to temporary monopolisation of mental hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, psychiatric aid from healthcare professionals is not guaranteed. Some drug users may have changed to narcotics including such new synthetic opioids or designer benzodiazepines, which are available online, in addition to prescribed sedatives. Indeed, consumption of these two types of novel psychoactive substances increased the most in 2019.

Who is at risk?

People who have been abused or traumatised physically, emotionally, or sexually are more prone to develop a substance use disorder. Others with friends who use or those who are vulnerable to peer pressure may also be at danger. Adolescence has been identified as the developmental period with the highest risk of substance misuse. Adolescents who take substances with a high risk of negative consequences are said to be using high-risk substances (i.e., injury, criminal justice involvement, school dropout, loss of life). This includes prescription drug abuse, illicit drug usage (such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, inhalants, hallucinogens, or ecstasy), and injectable drug use, all of which increase the risk of contracting blood-borne infections including HIV and hepatitis.

The Facts

  • 15% of high school pupils admitted to using illicit or injectable substances at some point (i.e. cocaine, inhalants, heroin, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, or ecstasy)
  • Prescription opioid misuse was reported by 14% of pupils.
  • Youth who inject drugs are at risk of contracting HIV, and drug usage in general puts them at risk of overdosing.
  • The use of opioids by adolescents is associated to sexual risk behaviours.
  • Students who have ever used prescription medicines without a doctor’s prescription are more likely to have experienced physical or sexual relationship violence than other students.
  • Drug use is linked to sexual risk behaviour, violence exposure, mental health issues, and suicide risk.

Risk factors for youth high-risk substance use can include:

  • Family history of substance use
  • Favourable parental attitudes towards the behaviour
  • Poor parental monitoring
  • Parental substance use
  • Family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Association with delinquent or substance-using peers
  • Lack of school connectedness
  • Low academic achievement
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Mental health issues
  • High-Risk Substance Use Prevention.

We now have a better knowledge of the elements that protect young people from a number of harmful behaviours, including substance abuse.

Protective factors are what they’re called. The following are some protective variables for high-risk substance use:

  • Parent or family engagement
  • Family support parental disapproval of substance use
  • Parental monitoring
  • School Connectedness.

Alcoholic beverages are one of the most major products of global addiction demand. Alcohol consumption is a major problem in developing countries like India because of various socio-cultural practices across the country, different alcohol policies and practices across the various states, lack of community awareness of alcohol-related problems, false widespread media propaganda about alcohol use, various alcohol having a drink patterns among the alcohol consumers, and the emergence of social drinking as a habit due to widespread urbanization. When an individual engages in a problematic drinking pattern that puts him at risk of developing adverse health outcomes, alcohol intake becomes a problem. Because of the country’s socio-cultural variety, different sections of India have diverse alcohol use customs.

Alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and small intestine when alcoholic beverages are taken. Every organ in the body receives it through blood circulation. The liver absorbs the alcohol quickly and excretes it through the kidneys, that account for 95 percent to 98 percent of the alcohol consumed. According to Gururaj et al., because of the rise in alcohol consumption across the country, hospital admission rates due to alcohol use are also rising, with 20% to 30% of hospitalizations due to direct or indirect difficulties induced by alcohol consumption.

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) complications
  • Cancer
  • Changes in the genitourinary system
  • Muscular changes
  • Neurological complications
  • Psychiatric complications

Alcohol intake was found to be a substantial risk factor for suicide in a study case of completed suicides near Bangalore conducted by Gururaj, with approximately a 25-fold increase among alcohol users. Suicide rates among women who were married to alcoholics soared by roughly sixfold. Alcohol drinkers had greater suicide rates than non-users, according to a study conducted by Vijayakumar et al. in Chennai.

The global prevalence of alcohol consumption

According to WHO data, adults over the age of 15 consume 6.2 litres of pure alcohol annually, or 13.5 g per day. However, there are significant differences between WHO areas and member states. Alcohol consumption is responsible for roughly 5.1 percent of worldwide disease burden and nearly 3.3 million fatalities each year.


Alcohol Addiction Prevention Begins with Teens and Adults:

Too much alcohol can have a negative impact on one’s daily life, relationships, and professional performance. Excessive drinking can develop to alcohol use disorders (AUD) such as dependence, abuse, and addiction. Fortunately, there are practical strategies to avoid becoming addicted to alcohol.

For teens

  • Talk about Alcohol and its Risks with Children and Teens
  • Monitor Alcohol and Behaviours in the Home
  • Teach Valuable Coping Methods for Stress
  • Know Your Drinking Limits.

For adults

  • Avoid Binge Drinking and Heavy Drinking
  • Know the Consequences of Alcohol Use
  • Remove Alcohol from the Home
  • Tell Loved Ones Your Concerns
  • Prevent Alcohol Addiction by Avoiding Emotional Drinking
  • Recognize Your Triggers
  • Know Your Drinking Limits

What Are the Types of Treatment for AUD?

There are several evidence-based therapy options for AUD. A therapeutic strategy that works for one individual might not work for another. Specialty programmes, therapists, and doctors can provide outpatient and/or inpatient treatment.


Naltrexone (oral and long-acting injectable), acamprosate, and disulfiram drugs which are non-addictive and can be used alone or in conjunction with behavioural therapy or peer support groups are suggested.

Behavioural Treatments:

Behavioral treatments, often known as alcohol counselling or “talk therapy,” are focused at modifying drinking habits and are delivered by qualified therapists. Brief interventions and reinforcement techniques, treatments that increase motivation and teach coping and relapse prevention skills, and mindfulness-based therapies are all examples of behavioural treatments.

Mutual-Support Organisations

Peer support for quitting or lowering drinking is provided via mutual-support groups. Most towns have low-cost or no-cost group gatherings at convenient times and locations, including an expanding presence online. This means they can indeed be especially beneficial to people who are at risk of relapsing. Mutual-support groups, when combined with drugs and behavioural therapies provided by health experts, can provide a valuable additional layer of support.


Harmful alcohol use is defined as alcohol use per capita (aged 15 and older) in litres of pure alcohol during a calendar year, according to the national context. 

Total alcohol per capita (15+ years) consumption (APC) is defined as the total amount of pure alcohol drunk per adult (15+ years) in a calendar year, measured in litres (sum of three-year average recorded APC and unrecorded APC adjusted for tourist consumption).Unrecorded alcohol consumption refers to alcohol that is not taxed and is outside the typical system of governmental regulation, such as home or informally manufactured alcohol (legal or illegal), smuggled alcohol, surrogate alcohol (alcohol not meant for human consumption), or alcohol obtained through cross-border commerce (which is recorded in a different jurisdiction). Tourist consumption includes both visitors to the country and residents who travel to other countries. Positive values indicate that outbound travellers consume more alcohol than inbound tourists, while negative numbers indicate the opposite.


Finally, alcohol abuse continues to be a substantial impediment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.5. Until now, governmental responses have been insufficient in protecting individuals in the Americas from alcohol-related harms. Improving the country’s capacity to collect and analyse data on alcohol consumption per capita is critical for tracking progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals and promoting proven alcohol policies to reduce hazardous alcohol use.


* indicates required

Leave a Comment

Please rate

Your email address will not be published.

Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar