Table 2

Quotes reflecting some of the reasons women in Manipur and Nagaland use drugs and alcohol
Reason Quote
Widowhood Mainly, according to my experiences women who become widows at a very young age turn into alcoholic and female injecting drug users. I know 20–30 of them. Women who are very poor also become sex workers and start drinking alcohol… Mainly young widows, if they don’t have support from family, they start looking for ways of earning. If they do sex work then they compulsorily use alcohol or any type of drugs in order to avoid shyness and shame. (KI6 Manipur, Nurse)
To suppress emotional pain My first husband eloped with me and later ran away with another girl. I got married again, and my second husband used to beat me up everyday and my face was always swollen. Sometimes, I couldn’t even open my eyes because of being beaten up. I left my second husband too. I drink because I cannot stop my tears from falling. I drink because I always cry (broke down). I feel so sad. Wherever I go, I go and drink lots of rum. Even before food, I drink a bottle of rum. Please don’t feel angry at me. (FGD3 Dimapur, Nagaland)
For pleasure For me my friend taught me drinking alcohol while attending parties. Later on I started injecting heroin without being taught by anybody because I love to take drugs very much. It’s been almost seven years that I am injecting drugs. I was also in detoxification two times in between, but still I don’t want to stop, and so I continue. The moment I see the peddler’s house I want to take it. (FGD1 Imphal, Manipur)
To avoid symptoms of withdrawal Now I am an addict. When I don’t take my daily dose, I feel lethargic and sick and stay in bed the whole day but whenever I have my daily dose, I feel light and active. (FGD1 Dimapur, Nagaland)
I was selling drinks and in the process, customers asked me to drink with them and slowly I started drinking, and today I am an addict. If I don’t drink, I experience turkey [withdrawal]. From the time I get up, before I drink my morning tea, I take MC [rum] for breakfast (laughs). (FGD5 Wokha, Nagaland)
To overcome shame associated with sex work For me there is nothing like sadness as the reason, but without drugs I cannot earn money, without this I cannot be together [have sex] with a man. With the drug I don’t feel shame. Like that I started drinking [alcohol]. (FGD2 Imphal, Manipur)

Kermode et al.

Kermode et al. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2013 13:9   doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-9

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