A new research by an NGO, the Society for the promotion of Youth and Masses, has thrown out some disturbing facts. Nearly 80 % of children living in the slums of Seemapuri, a colony located in north-east district of Delhi, are drug addicts.
If this is not disturbing enough, read this: Among the drug addicts are children as young as seven years of age. Apart from alcohol, the most frequently used drugs include heroin, pharmaceutical opiods, inhalants, tobacco and marihuana.
The research done following orders by the Juvenile Justice Board found that peer pressure, family history, loneliness and easy availability of drugs contribute towards such rampant use of drugs by children.
Parents, in most cases, are aware of that their wards are taking to drugs but express helplessness in checking this, says the research.
The incidence of drug abuse among children and adolescents is high mainly because this is the age of experimentation. The problem is compounded in India because no sensitization programmes about drug use are held either in communities or schools. Also, there are few or no health centres that deal with child substance abuse problems.
Meanwhile, a recent survey done by the national daily Indian Express in Chennai has found that 40 of 60 schools in the city have one or more shops that sell tobacco and nicotine products within 100 metres of the school’s campus. While this is illegal, school managements are unaware that such a thing is against the law. The survey was conducted in 15 major locations in and around Chennai.