Around 70mn Alcoholics in India, says WHO
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13 November 2008
By Mahendra Kumar Singh
New Delhi, India
The health minister Anbumani Ramadoss is planning a campaign against alcohol by bringing in a national policy to regulate its sale in the country.
Though the policy would largely be recommendatory in nature, the ministry is looking at preliminary studies on alcohol and its effects. There will be workshops and awareness campaigns that state governments will have to conduct at the grassroots level, Ramadoss said.
According to WHO, there are 60–70 million alcoholics in India out of which 50% are “Hazardous drinkers” and need treatment, the health minister said, emphasising the need for a policy on alcohol control.
Ramadoss pointed out that the age of initiation to alcohol had come down from 19 years in 1986 to 13.5 years in 2006. “We need a strong policy to prevent the young generation from getting addicted to alcohol,” he added.
He said he had written to the civil aviation minister seeking removal of liquor ads from airports. He added that he would approach the I&B ministry again to stop surrogate advertising of alcoholic drinks in print and electronic media. An official said the ministry would also seek the institution of a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control on the lines of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.