Drug Addiction and Alcoholism


  • Alcohol is a subject in the State list under the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 47 of the Directive Principle in the Constitution of India states that “The state shall undertake rules to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”
Current Issues:
  • Punjab facing serious problem of drug addiction. Almost Half of the under trials and convicts in Punjab are jailed under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
  • Prohibition ban in Bihar
  • Ban in Kerala
Why alcohol is bad?
  • Alcohol consumption leads to household impoverishment, domestic violence and premature mortality. The main sufferers here are women and therefore, they have time and again protested for ban on alcohol
  • Children and women are suffering more than anyone else due to increasing liquor consumption.
  • Alcohol, especially in large quantities, can damage people’s kidneys and livers, and can eventually lead to death
  • Some religions (such as Islam, Mormonism, and some Pentecostal Christians) expressly forbids the consumption of alcohol
  • Some argue that there is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and an increase in crime. Violent crimes, assault, and disorderly conduct are most common with persons who are intoxicated
  • Loss of human resource which impacts economy and increases social burden
Pros of Prohibition Policy:
  • Prohibition of alcohol limits and/or prevents alcohol addiction
  • Prohibition reduces the causalities and damages through drunk driving
  • Some religions (such as Islam, Mormonism, and some Pentecostal Christians) expressly forbids the consumption of alcohol
Cons of Prohibition Policy:
  • Loss of revenue to states. The sale of alcohol contributes to the economy of the state through the tax directly and through the tourism, indirectly
  • Ban may also lead to smuggling of illicit liquor and production of spurious liquor
  • It also spawns massive corruption
  • Blanket bans could adversely affect tourism, hospitality and other businesses, besides being an unfair intrusion into personal choices of a large section of people who can afford liquor and consume moderately
  • Criminal organizations will mostly profit from prohibition and, that in return, will promote other illegal activities.
  • In most cultures and religions, social drinking is an acceptable practice
  • It simply does not work. Examples from states like Gujarat show that prohibition is only on paper. It does not work on ground.
What can be done:
  • Enforce a minimum price for alcohol
  • Raise the legal drinking age
  • Stop distribution of new licenses
  • Ban marketing of alcohol
  • Empower women from revenues :- From the revenues earned from liquor, the government should empower women so that they can be more independent. Domestic violence against women is a symptom of a much more serious problem which cannot be solved by liquor ban
Prohibition is not the panacea of all the social ills. Instead the focus should be on deeper understanding of social life and its possibilities. Knee-jerk moralism or instrumental politics is the last thing the issue around the consumption of alcohol or governmentality needs.
Bihar Ban Issue:
Patna High Court struck down as unconstitutional Bihar’s amendments to its 1915 Excise Act that prohibited the sale or possession of alcohol.
  • The judgment argued that even laws that sought justification in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution had to be reasonable and must respect fundamental rights.
  • In addition, the court said, the punishments prescribed by the law were “quite unreasonable and draconian and cannot be justified in a civilised society
Related Questions
Since pre- Independence days, many arguments are made for and against imposing prohibition in India. Discuss these arguments and examine if it’s feasible in today’s India to impose prohibition. (200 Words)



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