Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 4
In a first-of-its-kind study conducted in government schools of Chandigarh on drug abuse, it has been found that a whopping 50 per cent students consume intoxicants such as “bhukhi”, weed, tobacco and cocaine.
The study was conducted by the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) and the findings were submitted to the UT Education Department lately. A total of 161 students were interviewed, of which 143 were male students and 18 were female students, in the age group 13-19 years.
The study reveals that most students (40 per cent) started consuming drugs between the age of 13 and 14 years. The frequency of consumption was found to be as high as four times a day in only 1 per cent of the total students interviewed under the survey.
Dr Ajeet Sidana, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatrist, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, explains: “This age group is the most vulnerable and impressionable as children are in dilemma of staying under the shadow of parents versus a sense of autonomy. Most of the teenagers are also dealing with relationship issues between parents and friends. To ease that stress, they consume such intoxicant substances.”
According to the study, 93 per cent students preferred the company of their friends while consuming drugs. “Somewhere, peer pressure also plays an indispensable role and if your friends are consuming intoxicant substances, then it is most likely for you to get exposure from them,” said Dr Sidana.
The study has found that most popular abused substance was tobacco, as up to 45 per cent students preferred smoking bidis or cigarettes over consuming alcohol. Dr Sidana, who is also the Consultant In-charge of Drug De-addiction at the GMCH 32 said: “Tobacco and weed are easily available and can be consumed without the fear of onlookers. Once you smoke or chew it, it immediately hits the brain and pacifies the anxiety teens are dealing with. The labour class also consumes such drugs obtained by crushing the leaves of the cannabis plant. Alcohol, on the other hand, is not easily accessible by teens.”
“Teen drug addiction is increasing day by day and not showing any sign of slowing down. Because gaining access to alcohol can, sometimes, be difficult for teens, they often resort to different types of drugs such as ganja, weed, cocaine, tobacco, ‘cool lip’, cold medications, ‘nila thotha’ and heroin,” says the study.
The study has found that 64 per cent students surveyed belong to the SCs. Professor Kumool Abbi, Department of Sociology, says: “A majority of students who consume drugs are from broken families. Either the parents were consuming substance or there was no parental or emotional support due to separation.”
Prof Abbi says Chandigarh is just the extension of drug menace of Punjab and Haryana as the same network of drug availability thrives in the city as well.
Parents of these students are mainly in the service sector. They work mostly as sweeper and peon. About 73 per cent of the parents are in the service sector.
Over 81% students are from the city area and the rest of 19 per cent hail from rural areas such as Dadu Majra, Dhanas and Nayagaon.
Former Education Secretary of UT BL Sharma said: “There were some schools in rural areas where students consumed drugs. If society is infested with drug abuse, it will have its impact on schools too.”
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