A survey has found that as many as 28.7% of school children in Keralaâ€™s Thiruvananthapuram district have used drugs.
The survey conducted by Don Bosco Veedu Society in association with Breads (Bengaluru Rural Educational and Development Society) also observed that as much as 39.3 % of school students in the district wanted to use drugs while 41.3% of users resorted to theft to fund their drug usage, as per a report by The Hindu.
The survey also revealed that 18% of the students used it for leisure while 8.5% users said that curiosity drove them to use drugs. 5% of children surveyed said that they did it to become popular among their friends while 4% admitted to influence of peers.
The survey titled â€˜A study on drug dependency among school children in Thiruvananthapuram districtâ€™ was conducted among 600 schoolchildren each in urban, rural and coastal areas of the district. The 1800 students surveyed included students from 60 ICSE, CBSE, and State syllabus schools.
Apart from abuse by family members and friends, the survey also pointed out that the easy availability of drugs is another factor leading to more and more schoolchildren using drugs. About 85.8% of the students said they were aware of drug availability in their locality.
Most students who consumed drugs bought it from shops (75.8%) while others said that they got drugs from close friends and seniors.
Ganja, brown sugar and â€˜magic mushroomâ€™ were found to be easily available according to the survey while children surveyed also admitted that â€˜Shambhuâ€™ an addictive substance and â€˜Coolâ€™, a chewable tobacco product was familiar to them.
Speaking to The Hindu, Thomas PD, Director of the Don Bosco Veedu Society said that the surveyâ€™s findings matched the observations of the society in interactions with children in schools or counselling and those with teachers and that it was of serious concern that an increasing number of children were stealing to feed their drug habits.