A usually mild 14-year-old Mahesh (name changed) would have uncontrolled episodes of rage. When he slapped his mother one day, she decided to get some help. “Though his mother claimed that her child would never indulge in drugs, we decided to go ahead with a urine test, which tested positive for cannabis,” said Dr Shetty, consulting psychiatrist, LH Hiranandani Hospital.
It is instances like these that prodded the hospital to start a programme – Drug Education For You (DEFY) on August 15 with a talk at the Hiranandani Foundation School.
The programme has been started by LH Hiranadani Hospital along with Rotary Lakers. “We want to prevent our children from indulging in drugs. We want to try and make Powai drug-free,” said Dr Sujit Chatterjee, chief operating officer, LH Hiranandani Hospital.
As part of the programme, Dr Shetty had a talk with students at the Gopal Sharma Memorial School, Powai. “I have seen at least 200 cases of substance abuse in the out-patient department itself. Earlier, I would see barely 60 odd cases a year. These children are not even from troubled, dysfunctional families,” said Dr Shetty. “The programme is meant for youngsters indulging in substance abuse of all kinds in the area,” said Mamta Asthana, member of Rotary Lakers.
“The children were concerned about how to choose friends, how to stop their friends from smoking, and how to help their parents who indulge in substance abuse,”said Asthana.
Dr Shetty said that if the model becomes successful, it can be replicated in other communities as well.