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Drugs abuse rampant among street kids

Poor kids loose their childhood on the mean streets of the capital, what they earn, they spend it on drugs.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 13:21 IST

Sandeep lost his childhood, many years back to the mean streets of Delhi. At an age when children haggle for pocket money, this 13-year-old earns and spends most it on intoxicants.

The fact that he continues to be addicted, even after going through a "de-addiction programme" questions the effectiveness of such programmes, say experts working in the field.

Sandeep earns about Rs 150-200 a day by rag-picking at the New Delhi Railway station and spends more than half of it to buy correction fluid and alcohol everyday.

There are several children who are addicted like Sandeep living on the streets of the national capital. A survey done by an international NGO shows that almost 70-80 per cent of children living at railway stations here are into substance abuse. Several of them, the study says, want to get out of the problem, but have no clue how to do so.

People working with street kids attribute this alarming and persistent problem of addiction to the absence of a specialised de-addiction programme exclusively for street children.

"Any level of addiction in children leads to a lot disorientation and vulnerability mainly because of the substance. And as we don't have rehabilitation centres exclusively for children, this problem is persistent," says Mrinalini Rao, programme director (India) of Railway Children.

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 13:21 IST