A group of around 65 women from Alcoholics Anonymous in Australia shared stories of their struggles to come to term with addiction with students of social work and nursing.

The women, who are on a tour of India, were in the city on Monday.

Alcohol consumption, usually associated with men in India, has in its grip a small segment of women too. But members of the Indian chapter of AA are unable to provide any numbers of both male and female fellowships.

Activists working with de-addiction centres say though it is well-known that young women are more frequently seen in pubs there is no documented evidence about how serious the problem is. Doctors say that effect of alcohol in women is more severe and several studies have found that they are linked to cancer of breast if it already runs in the family. Alcoholism also affects fertility besides causing eating disorders.

A resident counsellor at TTK Hospital, which organised the programme, said there are no data about the number of persons addicted. The stigma of alcoholism is difficult to overcome. Even in TTK hospital that was founded 32 years ago only 25 women have been treated so far, the counsellor said. In other countries AA is popular and there are treatment centres and women volunteer and get admitted.

“The women from Australia came to carry the hope message of recovery to active women alcoholics. Since the process of identifying persons with addiction is very difficult we targeted college students,” he said.

The programme was held in Stella Maris College, Madras School of Social Work, Apollo College of Nursing and Sharmila College of Nursing.

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