Nine-year-old Ashraf (name changed) is a boy with an ironic grin who sniffs at least a tube of glue a day unaware of its ill-effects.
Living at Dabur Colony, a slum of this industrial township with his parents, Ashraf is addicted to sniffing adhesive used to repair punctured rubber tyres.
“I was introduced to salochan (adhesive solution in his lingo) by one Aman. He used to make me bunk school to reach nearby shops for the substance. Now, I am expelled from the school, but I like to attend classes,” eldest son of a migrant rickshaw-puller told Hindustan Times.
Ashraf was studying in Class 1 at a charitable school and has good knowledge of English, Hindi and maths.
He is not an isolated case, but dozens of street children below age group of 15 years are hooked to the easily available hallucination substance. They are coaxed into sniffing glue by their peers and once addicted, they find it difficult to survive without sniffing it for a single day.
But the issue was never noticed by the police or any social organisation until recently when Ashraf’s mother approached the district legal service authority (DLSA).
“He is hooked to the substance for the past three months. We used to tie him with a rope, but he used to get restless and cried due to withdrawal symptoms. I have no other option but to release and ease him,” Ashraf’s mother told HT.
Another child, Ravi, claiming to be 12 years old, said adhesive tubes were easily available at general stores in colonies inhabited by workers.
“A small tube comes for `10 and mostly the shopkeepers offer rebate of `2 per tube to attract customers. They lure us to give salochan for free if we make at least four boys to buy the same stuff,” said Ravi.
Pankaj, a ragpicker, says after buying a tube, an empty packet of milk was all you need for the experience. The tube is emptied in the packet and then it is rubbed and fumes are inhaled to get a high, he added.
Panipat, drugs, District legal service authority, hallucination drug addiction, substance use,