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January 2022

Sociocultural perspective of substance use in India

Journal/Book: Subst Use Misuse. 1996; 31: 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016. Marcel Dekker Inc. 1689-1714.

Abstract: The present communication focuses on a sociocultural perspective of substance use in a pluralistic and diverse culture. India has a history of use of plant products, viz., cannabis, opium, and home-brewed alcoholic beverages, within a defined sociocultural framework over five millennium. Cross-sectional epidemiological studies in the field of substance use in different parts of India show that certain social groups are more ''vulnerable'' to substance use. Caste, religion, and local customs and traditions play a significant role in the choice of drugs, their consumption, and their control in rural/semiurban populations. The intercultural barriers are diminishing in urban populations, and even alien drugs like heroin have been introduced. The social and cultural implications of the traditional vis-a-vis the altering drug use scene are discussed at length.

Note: Article HK Sharma, All India Inst Med Sci, Drug Dependence Treatment Ctr, New Delhi 110029, India

Keyword(s): sociocultural perspective; substance use; traditional drugs; ethnography; caste system; altering drug scene

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