International Drug Abuse Day: Peer pressure, family history lead children to drug abuse

- June 26, 2024
| By : Kushan Niyogi |

Experts highlight that tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and inhalants are most common among youngsters in impressionable age 

The drug network was well planned as there were no direct contacts among the consumers, customers and the smugglers. (Representational photo: Unsplash)

The bane of substance abuse has reached many children within the age group of 10 to 14. Reasons range from peer pressure to a quick escape from reality. 

According to police officials, minors in the said age group mostly partake in substances such as marijuana and hash. 

“These are the most prevalent drugs in the market owing to ease in procurement. Most children, especially urchins, go for these if they want their fix since it is also available in localities they grow up in,” he said. 

Anasuya Dasgupta, a psychiatrist with a local rehab centre in South Delhi, highlighted that it is not just marijuana and hash. The real threat, she says, is from legally obtainable illicit substances. 

“Most children opt for substances that are already legal or easily available such as beedi, cigarette or alcohol. It is a gradual shift to opting for marijuana for their fix,” she said.

According to experts, the reason for such indulgence in addictive substances is owed to family history, peer pressure, curiosity and availability of drugs. 

Also Read: Why the Capital is becoming the trafficking hub for Crystal Meth

“These are children of a fairly impressionable age, and they are influenced by their surroundings and also their immediate family. The most immediate cause for such addiction is pressure from contemporaries, besides influence of family partaking in it. Others get addicted due to curiosity since access to such substances is easy,” said Dasgupta. 

However, it is just not beedi, cigarette or marijuana that is most prevalent among street children. Smack (heroin), whitener, and industrial glue among others are also popular in these slums. 

According to a research paper published in Asian Journal of Psychiatry in 2020, it was found that tobacco, alcohol and inhalants were the most abused substances — 31.1%, 13.5% and 11.3%, respectively. 

Of the total number of children surveyed, 23,240 preferred using substances alongside tobacco, while 15,470 used them without tobacco in Delhi. 

In a reply made in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Vijay Sampla, had disclosed in 2018, that over 90% of Delhi’s street children were drug addicts.