Their easy and legal availability is whats responsible for their growing popularity among youths in Kolkata.
Whats being discussed here are over-the-counter products like adhesives,whiteners,nail polish removers,shoe polish,and prescription drugs purchased by school children and college-goers for,substance abuse.
While conventional drugs such as heroin and brown sugar continue to remain a threat,Kolkata has seen a tremendous rise in substance abuse over the years,it has been observed.
Peer pressure,increased exposure to internet and television,and the desire to experiment – these are only some of the reasons that have led young children into abusing these substances, observes Dr K R Banerjee,a Kolkata-based psychiatrist.
Dr Banerjee believes that children who are exposed to domestic abuse and family discord are more prone to addiction than those who come from a healthy background.
Calcutta Samaritans volunteer Utpal Dutta reveals young children living on the streets often indulge in substance abuse. We have seen kids as young as 14 years old sniffing dendrite and other such substances. We have conducted camps for street children living near Sealdah station. Other areas such as Tiljala and Ekbalpur are infested with drug addicts which exposes these kids to rampant substance abuse.
Whats more,these young addicts are often compelled into committing petty thefts in order to finance their next fix.
Although aware of the scenario,the police say they face extreme difficulty in monitoring the use. It is not possible to control the abuse of such substances as they are easily available at the shops. We cannot stop the sale of such daily-use products, said a senior official in Kolkata Police.
Among other things,the city has also seen a rise in abuse of prescription drugs such as nitrazepam,spasmo proxyvon and other sedatives. Subrata Biswas,joint director of Narcotics Control Bureau,believes that the abuse of prescription drugs is a global phenomenon. These tablets can be bought from any medical store for Rs 50 and so and college students often use them with alcohol.
As revealed by a senior Kolkata Police officer,students from reputed medical colleges in the city often abuse such prescription drugs. The police cannot control such activities since doctors have easy access to these prescription drugs, the officer said.
Faced with such difficulty,officials say the only way left to prevent use of such drugs is by raising awareness and educating young school children about their harmful effects. Subrata Biswas of Narcotics Control Bureau says continued substance abuse will have the same effect on the human body as heroin. As Soumen Banerjee of St. Josephs Rehabilitation Centre remarks: There are only three possible destinations for an addict – rehab centres,jail or an early grave.