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Jyotsna Jalali, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, December 20, 2012
A girl in her early twenties was admitted to a private hospital in SAS Nagar in an unconscious state about a week ago. She had mixed her alcoholic drink with a sedative, which caused difficulty in breathing and made her unconscious. It was learnt that she was into drinking and on that particular day she was forced by her friends to mix her drink with a drug.


According to experts in the city, she or the college girl who died of drug overdose are not the lone examples of girls from the city who are either into drugs or facing drinking problem. It has become a common occurrence though not many go in for treatment. Experts say it is the 'freedom' girls get while living away from family or stress, broken relationship, peer pressure and societal pressure, which are pushing more and more girls to take to drinking and drugs.

If a survey conducted by Panjab University's centre for health is to be believed, out of the sample size of 200 girl students from the campus, 7% were found taking drugs and drinking alcohol. Mainly because of broken relationships or they failed to handle acute anxiety during examinations. At least 24.5% females said they had at some point or the other resorted to drinking in such situations. All these 200 girls are from the university in 20 to 25 year age group and are pursuing graduation, post graduation, MPhil or PhD.

The survey was conducted around mid-year by a research scholar of the university's centre for public health, Sumit Sharma, under the guidance of Manoj Kumar Sharma of PU with the help of the head of the department, Vijay Lakshmi, and Naveen Kumar Goel of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. The sample size was that of 400 PU students, including 200 boys and 200 girl students. The results with boys are more shocking with 23% of them into drugs and drinking.

Though the PU authorities deny of coming across such cases in girl hostels, the study gives a shocking revelation that these students are addicted to drugs or alcohol to get their needs of addiction fulfilled with little difficulty on the PU campus itself. Navleen Kaur, a girl hostel warden, says: "I haven't come across any girl drinking on the premises, but there have been cases of girls coming drunk from outside. In such cases, we have counselled them and dealt with them as per the procedure. Students face a lot of peer pressure and succumb to that but as we counsel them, parents should also keep in touch with their children and communicate more often."

Ironically, as most authorities deny such cases on the premises, they add that not finding such cases in hostels doesn't mean that girls are not into drugs or drinking. Though they refrain from giving further details.

Expertspeak
Dr BS Chavan, head of psychiatry department in GMCH-32, says he has recently visited a girls college in the city where the principal and the head of the psychology department told him that many girls from the college are into drinking and drugs. "I was not shocked to learn that as it is a fact. According to reports, which come to us, I can say that number of young girls taking to drinking and drugs has increased fairly in the past few years. Sadly no specific study is being conducted to state the kind of drugs used, but I can say with conviction that as of now, high percentage of city girls are into drinking or drugs."

Dr Simmi Warich, a psychiatrist with a leading private hospital, says: "Treatment comes at a very later stage and only when one gets into a critical stage, so we can't give a specific number of patients but I will not be wrong in saying many girls in city are victim of drinking or drugs. Most of them are the ones who are living on their own in the city. I do counsel a lot of girls on the issue but then taboo is still there and though many are into it, they are not ready to talk about it."

Survey findings

7% into drinking and drugs
24.5% at one point or the other had resorted to drinking
Girls don't have to go out of premises to satiate their urge for drinks
(Sample size: 200 girls on PU campus)


The reasons

Peer pressure
Societal pressure
Communication gap with families
Broken relationships
Stress
Freedom as many don't live their families in the city