NGOs seek better initiatives to help children kick the habit - The New Indian Express

NGOs seek better initiatives to help children kick the habit

Published: 14th November 2013 08:45 AM

Last Updated: 14th November 2013 08:52 AM

Pressing for a change in the way addicts are treated in society, NGOs, on the occasion of Children’s Day, called for better government initiatives in rehabilitating child victims of substance abuse.

The few existing rehabilitation centres in the city paint a sad picture of the facilities available for children addicted to drugs, alcohol, correction ink and tobacco.

“Nearly 40 per cent of the children aged below 15 years who come to our centre are victims of substance abuse,” says Vivek M, president, Rehabilitation From Alcohol, Substance Abuse Prevention (RASP).

“Most addictions among kids begin with curiosity and trials with alcohol or drugs transform into a habit”, he explained.

Stress, Rejection Made them Addicts

Sandeep (name changed), undergoing deaddiction treatment at RASP, took to smoking as he was under a lot of stress.

“My mom wanted me to be like my neighbour and achieve all the things that he did. This made it impossible for me to remain calm,” he said.

Vivek says 65 per cent of addicts who come to RASP end up kicking the habit while 15 per cent end in relapse. Another patient, Sudheer (name changed), is said to have killed himself after being rejected by his neighbours and loved ones.

Recalling one of Sudheer’s initial counselling sessions, Vivek said, “His neighbours were scared of him after his parents forcefully took him back from the rehabilitation home. A couple of days later, he hanged himself”. Vivek stresses that people need to accept addiction as a disease.

Lack of Govt Initiatives

Meanwhile, others pointed out the lack of a government system to aid rehabilitation. “Although there are plenty of NGOs working in the space, there are no services from the government other than the Child Help Line 1098,” said Fr George P S, executive director, BOSCO.

He said most child victims of substance abuse belong to migrant families who come to Bangalore in search of jobs. At present, BOSCO conducts ‘Open Shelter’ rehabilitation programmes with support from the Department of Women and Child Development.

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