Substance use patterns are notorious for their ability to change over time. Both licit and illicit substance use cause serious public health problems and evidence for the same is now available in our country. National level prevalence has been calculated for many substances of abuse, but regional variations are quite evident. Rapid assessment surveys have facilitated the understanding of changing patterns of use. Substance use among women and children are increasing causes of concern. Preliminary neurobiological research has focused on identifying individuals at high risk for alcohol dependence. Clinical research in the area has focused primarily on alcohol and substance related comorbidity. There is disappointingly little research on pharmacological and psychosocial interventions. Course and outcome studies emphasize the need for better follow-up in this group. While lack of a comprehensive policy has been repeatedly highlighted and various suggestions made to address the range of problems caused by substance use, much remains to be done on the ground to prevent and address these problems. It is anticipated that substance related research publications in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry will increase following the journal having acquired an 'indexed' status.
Keywords: Alcohol; India; drugs; research; substance use.