Background: There is worldwide consensus that misuse of narcotics and psychoactive substances is on the rise, and India is no exception to this. Poly drug use is now a well-established pattern of drug misuse. To complement the effects of preferred drugs, users select a substitute from a range of drugs. In India, street heroin (commonly known as brown sugar) is mainly used by chasing or smoking. The abused drug and its abuse pattern form an important part of medical history without which a proper treatment schedule cannot be planned. Aims: In view of the changing pattern of drug abuse, the study was planned to examine the emerging trend of drug addiction from a laboratory perspective. Results: Of 1509 urine samples received over a 1-year period, a significant change in drug abuse pattern was evident when present data was compared with previous data from our center (P < 0.001). Age wise distribution of drug abuse pattern showed that >95% of addicts fell in the age group of 14-45 years. A significant correlation (P < 0.01) between screening and confirmatory test was seen. One third of urine samples indicated discrepancy in self-reported drug abuse history and laboratory confirmation. Conclusion: Laboratory findings have supported clinical reports where addiction to compounds other than heroin has been reported to be on the rise. There is need to restrict usage of these drugs especially in the younger age groups.
- Changing pattern
- Drug abuse