Epidemiology, pattern and prevalence of alcohol consumption in India: need for public health action

Jagadeesan S., Pranav Patel


As we enter the year 2021, health and population related data related to the pattern, prevalence and epidemiological dimensions of alcohol consumption and its harmful use in Indian sub-continent needs time bound update. A non-systematic narrative review was attempted to identify consistent scientific and gray literature on the prevalence, pattern and repercussions on the alcohol consumption status among Indian adults and children. As the nation has no unified data system on the substance use behaviour of it's residents, the review involved inclusion of the latest research articles from each state/ union territory being collected from an active search from PubMed, Google scholar and Europe PMC. Prevalence of alcohol consumption in India ranged from 10% to 60% with a predominant male predilection in agreement with previous studies. Peer pressure was perceived to be the most influential factor in promoting alcohol use with social occasions, urban background, family celebrations and ‘staying away from family’ playing additional role. Mere awareness of alcohol related complications was not assessed in most of the research items. Public health and administrative policies need to be focussed strongly reducing the free availability of alcohol among diverse geographical regions of the country.  Policies and programmes are likely to be more effective if population heterogeneity is considered, and do address the wide range of modifiable risk and promoting factors at individual, community and social levels. Bringing public awareness with conventional and newer digital media will be contributive for both social and national productivity.


Alcohol, Dependence, Prevalence, Public Health, Intervention

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