Substance abuse highest among M’laya kids

From CK Nayak

NEWDELHI: In a shocking revelation, a study has found that use of tobacco and heroin by children is highest in Meghalaya followed closely by some other North Eastern states. Use of alchohol among children in the state is also comparatively higher.

Use of tobacco is highest at 96.4% among school children in Meghalaya, closely followed by Nagaland at 95.8% and Sikkim at 93.1% and another Hill State Uttaranchal at 90%.

Surprisingly in advanced state like Goa only 36.7% children consume tobacco and in Delhi it is comparatively less with 69.7%.

Another startling revelation is that use of heroin was seen to be highest in Meghalaya at 27.3%, followed by Punjab at 19.3%. Use of heroin in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar stood at nil.

Cannabis use is highest in children from Uttaranchal at 70%, followed by Haryana with 63.3% and Meghalaya with about 50%. In Goa and Tripura it was lowest at just 1.7%.

68.3% kids of Tripura used inhalants, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 66.5%. In Maharashtra, this number stood at 60.6% with 49% in Sikkim.In Haryana, this number stood at 46.7%, in Odisha at 40%, in Delhi and Rajasthan at 39%, in Manipur at 32.3%, and in Meghalaya at 30.9%. Tamil

Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat reported a low 7-8%, with Goa being the lowest at 5%.

These facts were revealed by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarathi who filed a petition in the Supreme Court which has to be replied by the State Governments including Meghalaya by next weekend.

Alcohol consumption and use of tobacco by children is highest in Meghalaya, the recent study quoted by Satyarathi said. Shockingly, the use of such substances is on the rise among the school kids rather than decreasing.

Satyarthi, the crusader of child rights sought the intervention of the Supreme Court so that a relevant order will help the Government to draft a national action plan to eliminate drug abuse by children.

Satyarthi’s petition cited a recent official report, according to which, over 88% children from Karnataka consume alcohol followed by 84.7% in Andhra Pradesh. Chandigarh and Haryana show consumption at 80%. 63.3% Meghalaya teens consume alchohol. In Delhi, only 23% teenagers consume alcohol while Tripura shows consumption at 35%.

The study titled ‘Assessment Of Pattern, Profile And Correlate Of Substance Use Among Children In India’, was commissioned by the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and conducted in 27 states by the National Drugs Dependent Treatment Center of All Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Filing the petition through his NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolon, Satyarthi referred to a WHO report saying drug abuse is proliferating among children.

Satyarthi’s lawyer argued before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India

H L Dattu that drugs are easily available around schools and are also available via internet. There appeared to be an upward trend from the previous survey (1998-1999).

Injectable drugs also seem to be popular amongt children, with 88.6% in Mizoram, followed by Meghalaya and Rajasthan at 25%. In Maharashtra, this number stands at 23.5%, in Punjab at 13%, in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh at 11%. In other states the usage stood below 7%.

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