Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Under-currents of the post-pandemic blues are still visible, even after the waning of Covid-19. Officials of the special juvenile police unit (SJPU) of Bhopal said that scores of school-going students are under the grip of alcohol, as well as substance abuse. Since January this year, as many as 272 cases have come to fore, in which the school students were found to be addicted, and the primary reason in all these cases was found to be peer pressure.
Officials maintained that all such teenagers, who fell prey to substance and alcohol abuse, also attempted to run away from their homes on being caught. They were eventually tracked down and offered counselling.
In Shahpura locality, a 15-year-old girl studying at a private school here has become addicted to cigarette smoking. It was learnt that the girl, when began to go to the school in 2022, after the Covid-induced restrictions were lifted, was teased by her classmates who used to call her ‘Bachchi’ (kid), as she had never consumed alcohol or smoked cigarettes. Later, one of her close friends introduced her to cigarette smoking and became addicted to it. The situation came to such a pass in 2023 that the girl was caught stealing money from her house. When her mother reprimanded her over smoking, the girl left her home and tried fleeing to Mumbai. She was luckily, traced by Government Railway police (GRP) at the Khandwa station and was reunited with her kin.
SJPU officials offered counselling to the girl, and she has agreed to give up cigarettes. SJPU officials are battling dozens of such cases almost every other day, in which counselling stands as the only weapon to eradicate the issue, sources posted there told Free Press.