If you thought alcohol and marijuana are the only forbidden drugs among youngsters, cops in Kerala today will correct you.
According to a recent report submitted before the court by the police department, whitener-inhalation addiction is the first step to drug addiction or alcoholism. The police are now going about devising new ways to curb the menace.
It has been found that whitener-inhaling addiction among the adolescent boys in Kerala is on the rise. The authorities say that it is mostly teens, youngsters in the age group of 13 and 17 years, who are the victims.
As part of the mission, the Narcotic Cell, Ernakulam, has filed a petition before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, seeking a directive to ban the sale of products that contain intoxicating chemicals, like the whitener. “Over the last few years, there has been a rise in cases of solvent abuse among children in the 10-18 years age group in the city and sale of whiteners continues unabated. And hence we feel that it’s the right time to intervene. Now the law stipulates only the regulation of the sale of harmful solvent substances and hence we are filing case, seeking a directive to ban the sale of products.” Joseph Saju, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Narcotic Cell, Ernakulam.
However, they insists that parents and society should cooperate with them in this solvent abuse eradication mission. “Unlike other drugs, curbing correction fluid abuse is difficult as even the parents are quite oblivious about the effect. We are therefore planning to conduct more seminars and counselling sessions about solvent abuse and also devising new ways to curb its use,” he adds.
Apparently, a detailed examination conducted by the State Government Laboratory had also indicated that highly inflammable substances were found in adhesives and the same volatile aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons were present in the whitener samples that were examined.
Get a low-cost kick!
The whitener abuse problem has been compounded by its easy procurement, negligible cost and its lack of odour. These remain the prime reasons why they find favour among youth.
“When compared to other drugs, 15 to 30 ml bottles of correction ink are available at stationary stores for anywhere between `30 and `50. And hence, though its accessibility to children is very high, the regulation of its sale is a grey area as there are no legal provisions for it,” says a counsellor. Other than sniffing and huffing, some youngsters even try to breath from a paper bag containing solvent to give themselves a high.
The effects of the white poison
The pungent smell of whitener can not only erase print on paper, but also memory from the human brain. The toluene and trychloroethane help to intoxicate and apparently the addicts experience a kick for five to eight hours, depending on the intensity and quantity of the inhalation. According to the experts, the hydrocarbons in the deadly solvents can infuse easily with the blood and can affect the central nervous system of a person. Uncharacteristic behaviours such as mood swings and insomnia are some of the reported symptoms of solvent addiction and it may results in kidney, liver and lung damage. And what’s more, just like drug addiction, at a point of unavailability of whiteners, the victims will move on to other intoxicant substances like mosquito repellents, thinners, nail polish removers etc. which are equally, if not more, harmful.
“Youngsters in the age group of 13 to 18 years are sensitive and need specific interventions from adults. Children and youngsters in this age group want to do something novel and colourful; they have the constant need to inquire into and explore new areas as well as push boundaries. If the relationship between the parents and children are transparent, children won’t indulge is any dangerous activity. To be more precise, a parent needs to know where their children are, who they are with, and what they are up to,” says S D Singh.
Says the doctor, who recently had to deal with a teenager who was addicted to cough syrup: “More and more children, especially young adults, are indulging in the abuse of whitener and other solvent drugs. The reasons for their addiction may vary, but the path they have chosen is the same. The treatment given to them is mainly on the lines of psychiatric medicines and counselling. Though counselling is needed in the first place, hospitalisation is needed for those who have strong withdrawal symptoms.” Article Link…