Students want practical help to fight drug addiction instead of Helpline

Mumbai: "We need practical help-line and not just a toll free number to overcome drug addiction', claimed students of St Xavier's College, Fort in a survey conducted by the first year students, on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Students claim they are not aware of how effective and helpful is the National Drug De-addiction Helpline number 1800-11-0031 at the ground level.

Students revealed, they do not know how to combat addiction or stop usage of drugs among their peers. Shrusti Chinnamalla, a student, said, “It is very difficult to say no to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, sometimes, because there is a lot of peer pressure. Also, we do not know how to help someone if they are in need and are keen to give up substance abuse.”

Around 30 per cent students have tried various intoxicants by the age of 17, while 24 per cent have tried at 16 years and 19 per cent have tried at by the age of 18. Malavika Pillai, a student, said, “It is alarming to see these results when the legal age for drinking liquor in Maharashtra is 25 years and for smoking it is 18 years.” While Rhea Banerjee, another student said, “Some youngsters are getting addicted without realising the harmful effects and then they cannot kick the habit.”

Easy accessibility, curiosity and peer pressure are the main reasons for alcohol and drug abuse, claim students. Avkash Jadhav, a teacher said, “These substances are easily available to students. We want practical help for students, especially if they identify the drugs being sold around their college. They need to know where to lodge a complaint or ways to end these malpractices. They cannot do it by themselves and they need professional help.”

Officials have asked students to use the positive peer pressure, whereby students can help each other and identify such situations. Bhumesh Agrawal, Superintendent of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Mumbai, said, “We will help students and take immediate action once we receive their complaints. Students can use the helpline number and approach the NCB anytime.”

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