Around two dozen street minors in Bhopal are taking Oxytocin shots to look adult, get jobs, escape Childline’s prying eyes and keep bullying adults away, finds out HT Investigation.
Oxytocin is usually administered to cows and buffaloes for more milk and is commonly perceived as a growth enhancer.
The police are aware of the trend, the Childline says it is taking all the right steps to stop the addiction and doctors warn serious health complications among the abusers. But, these children around Bhopal railway station and Nadra bus stand continue to take the shots. They call it ‘dosepani’, which literally means ‘the daily diet of the dose to get a high and look muscularly adult.’
A chat with these kids, between 13 and 15 years, revealed that ‘dosepani’ also means a combination of three shots — Avil, Buprenorphine and Diamorphine. They usually take these for a kick.
Getting the shot
But, how do they get their dosepani?
The reporter visited many chemist shops across the city, but all of them denied selling the shots to the children without prescription. The answer from the chemist shops around the bus and railway stations was no different. It remained a riddle till a child addict revealed that ‘they just say dosepani and the chemist gives them the shots’.
The reporter gave one of them some money and asked him to buy a ‘dosepani’ from the chemist. In five minutes, he was back with Oxytocin, Avil and Buprenorphine. But, he bought the three in Rs 250. An Oxytocin shot which costs Rs 15 was sold to him for Rs 150 and Avil and Buprenorphine, which cost Rs 25-odd bucks, cost him `100.
A 12-year-old kid, who is popularly known as Chhota Gandhi at Railway station, said, “I have to earn money for my mother and two younger siblings. I have to get adult as soon as possible. We as kids are harassed by people. Many a time, Childline, an NGO, took me to a shelter home as I am minor.”
About money? “I am a vendor. I sell water bottles at the railway station. I earn about Rs 300 a day. I give some to my mother and spend the rest on my requirements, including dosepani.”
These children revealed that a lady named Shabnam, who sits under Bharat Talkies Railway Bridge, introduced them to dosepani as a solution to fight childhood problems.
Action vs risk
The doctors, however, don’t subscribe to the notion among such kids that the injection helps them look adult.
Gandhi Medical College psychiatrist RN Sahu said, “There is not a proven fact that Oxytocin induces early adulthood in children. In fact, the injection has several side effects which can spoil the life of these kids.”
Government railway police (GRP) town inspector Hemant Shrivastava said he knew about it but he wasn’t really sure about the information.
However, Railway Protection Force (RPF) inspector RK Upadhyaya said he tried many times to stop it. “(But), medical shops are beyond our jurisdiction. We have informed the authorities. However, I have not seen any action.”
Childline director Archana Sahay suggested that in the absence of a followup action from the district administration, all their efforts to rehabilitate these children were proving fruitless.
The drug menace
Dosepani means Oxytocin which is usually administered to cows and buffaloes to increase their milk quantity
Oxytocin is also used to induce labor or strengthen labor contractions during childbirth, and to control bleeding after childbirth
The kids get Oxytocin injections to look adult as they believe that if they take the durg, they would look like adults at an early age
An injection of Oxytocin of Rs 15 is sold at Rs 150. Combination of injections of Avil and Buprenorphine of Rs 23 are sold for Rs 100 at chemist shops