Substance Abuse is the repeated use of a substance like tobacco, alcohol and/or illicit drugs despite having personal distress and problems related to its use. The problem of substance use has to a large extent stabilized in developed countries which have been exposed to substance use for decades, in contrast to many developing countries where the problem is on the rise. Research on the causal factors is pointing towards urbanization, poverty, migration, technological change and educational deficits.
|Approximately 55,500 adolescents start using tobacco every day in India, joining the 7.7 million young people under the age of 15 who already regularly use tobacco. Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) showed that 10 percent had ever used tobacco in any form. The proportion of students currently using any tobacco products was 4.5% (boys: 5.5%; girls: 3.1%). Alcohol abuse in the rural communities of South East Asia Region member States is a particularly serious problem. The pattern of drinking is usually binge drinking centred around pay day or on special occasions, such as, marriages and festivals. Also given the poor socio- economic status of most rural communities, disproportionate amounts of family income (30% in Asian countries) is spent on alcohol leaving very little money for food, education, housing and health. Thus a vicious cycle of poverty is perpetuated.