Substance abuse on the rise among school children



HYDERABAD: Substance abuse among school-going children is on the rise, with the issue especially acute among students of Class 8 and above, say experts.

In one such instance, a 12-year-old student was recently caught consuming balm at a government school in the city. The student’s mother expressed concern over her inability to stop him, as he also cuts his wrists.

Therapists attributed such behaviour to trauma, loneliness, curiosity, peer pressure and a disturbed mindset. They said that students are not afraid of being caught as they play the victim card.

While government school sources said that students are consuming substances like balms, whitener and glue to get high, private school sources said that chemical drugs packaged like candy and chocolate are being consumed.

V.S. Gideon, a de-addiction therapist, said, “Drugs in the form of beautifully packed toffees, candies and chocolates are being sold and consumed in private schools. Students get away while a check is conducted as they look like candies.”

He said that children as young as 11 years are addicted to such drugs and the number only keeps rising.

Gideon cited a case wherein a Class 8 student of a private school was addicted to sniffing petrol. “It all started when she added a few drops to her handkerchief and started sniffing it. The 12-year-old said that by sniffing petrol, she felt lighter, entered a whole new colourful world and liked the trip,” Gideon said.

 

A source said that students have also been caught smoking substances like hookah on the school premises, in some instances. “Several students who are lonely get together and are curious to try such substances, which becomes an addiction,” the source said.

Teachers in government schools said that the mental health of their students is affected due to financial constraints their families face, as they don’t have an emotional bonding with family members. Further, a lack of counsellors in government schools is also an issue, they said.



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