Alcohol Laws and Attitudes
There is a mixed attitude towards drinking alcohol in India. On one hand are the conservative states of Gujarat, Manipur and Nagaland, where drinking is illegal (but goes on in illicit bars). On the other hand, bars and clubs are aplenty in Goa and major cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai. There are dry days in most states, when alcohol cannot be served or bought.
It is worth bearing in mind that India is a conservative society. The advertising of alcohol is banned and alcohol is never served on domestic flights. However, most middle-class Indians do drink and the consumption of alcohol among teenagers is on the rise.
The legal drinking age varies from state to state. As far as the major cities are concerned, the minimum age is 18 in Mumbai, 21 in Kolkata and Bangalore, and 25 in New Delhi.
Drugs are easily available in India, especially cannabis (holy men, sadhus, are legally allowed to smoke) and bhang (a cannabis derivative that is easy to obtain on certain holy days). However, the attitude towards drugs is conservative. Drug consumption among middle-class teenagers is not out of control, but is on the rise. India does not have an established network of rehabilitation programmes or support. But most cities have organisations that can help and many non-governmental organisations are doing good work in this area.
- For more on the laws and penalties regarding drug possession and use: Click here
The major drug support groups include:
- Alcohol and Drug Addiction Information Centre
- Hope Trust India
- Addiction India
- De-addiction Centres offers a searchable database for rehabilitation centres
Contact details for support groups in India that deal with a range of issues can be found on the Support Groups page.