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NSSO mulls survey to assess drug abuse

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

A pilot survey has already been conducted in Amritsar, Imphal and Mumbai, will soon reach to other places.

For the first time, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) plans to conduct a nationwide survey to assess the extent of drug abuse in various parts of the country.

A pilot survey has already been conducted in Amritsar (Punjab), Imphal (Manipur) and Mumbai (Maharashtra) and will soon be extended to the rest of these states.

Officials from the organisation said the pilot was done in the three cities to test the approximate sample size, procedures to be followed for sampling, participants and the role of non-government organisations in the survey.

“The pilot survey was done not to bring out any result but to assess whether a survey of such kind can be conducted and what could be the pitfalls we need to be prepared for, because we plan to extend this to the entire country in the near future,” a senior NSSO official said.

The survey on drug abuse, being undertaken under the guidance of the ministry of social justice and empowerment, proposes to assess the number of drug users in the country, quantity of drugs used per individual, segments in which it is widely prevalent, and the kind of help provided by rehabilitation centres, among others.

“The idea behind selecting Amritsar, Mumbai and Imphal for the pilot is that these three areas have a high prevalence of drug uses according to our initial information,” the official said.

Based on the inputs received from the pilot, NSSO plans to employ the network sampling method for conducting the survey. Network sampling is a statistical method based on prior information and inputs provided by the respondents are used to draw more about the subject.

“The network sampling method is based on the suggestions made by Arijit Chaudhuri, retired professor of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata,” officials said. NSSO plans to conduct more such discussions and meetings with eminent statisticians and others to further fine-tune the method of sampling.

The results of the survey from the above-mentioned states are likely to be available in the next six months to one year. After this, it will be extended to the rest of the country.

“We need to hold more consultations with the ministry of social justice and empowerment to understand how our surveyors could visit jails and rehabilitation centres to get a first-hand information on the prevalence of drug abuse,” the official said.

Officials said though the survey was an ambitious exercise and could open the door for more such information based on other relevant issues, the organisation faced a staff crunch to execute its plans.


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First Published: Mon, September 19 2011. 01:06 IST