//Growing drug abuse among youth cause for concern

Growing drug abuse among youth cause for concern

By Prashant K. Nanda Jun 3, 2006,

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Fascination for drugs and their easy availability have heightened the number of drug abuse cases among youngsters in metropolitan cities like Delhi, doctors said Saturday.

'The number of drug abuse cases has gone up by 50 percent in the last few years and, unlike in the past, most drug abuse patients these days are adolescents,' said capital's leading psychiatrist Samir Parekh.

'Glamorisation of drugs and their easy availability are among the major driving forces,' said Parekh, who is from the chain of super speciality hospitals Max Healthcare.

A medicine specialist with the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, S.P. Byotra, said the prevalent trend among young drug abusers was to take several drugs at a time.

'A combination of alcohol and drugs like heroine or cocaine is deadly and affects a number of organs. An overdose generally leads to low blood pressure, high sugar level and respiratory problem. It can affect kidney and lever functioning as well,' Byotra told IANS.

Rahul Mahajan, the son of late Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pramod Mahajan, is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Apollo Indraprastha Hospital here, reportedly due to a drug overdose.

Byotra added that respiratory problems, which weaken the flow of blood to the lungs, could also lead to heart failure.

Currently, India is home to over 70 million drug addicts, of which, experts believe, the population of illicit drug users could be more than one million.

Byotra said one of the reasons for adolescents taking to drugs was to get out of depression and loneliness.

He said parents needed to be extra careful about their behaviour and how they bring up their children.

He added that substance abuse could also lead to mental health problems. 'It generally leads to depression, anxiety, sleep disorder and many other problems.'

Negating the notion that drug abuse is prevalent only among affluent classes, the head of the cardiology department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), K. Srinath Reddy, said the number of drug abuse cases among urban slum dwellers was also high.

'We have found that youths in urban slums are inhaling a white powder-like substance to get a kick or feel high,' said Reddy, who is also the coordinator of 'Hriday', an organisation working against drugs and tobacco abuse among youngsters.

© 2006 Indo-Asian News Service