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Drug abuse rampant in govt-run juvenile homes: Survey
Harish V Nair in New Delhi | January 04, 2006 21:43 IST
The Social Welfare Department of Delhi government Wednesday came under fire from a Delhi court after a survey ordered by it revealed that nearly half of the children in two state-run observation homes are addicted to alcohol, ganja, charas and intoxicating tablets.
The report, submitted Wednesday before the Juvenile Justice Board Principal Magistrate Santosh Snehi Mann on the basis of interviews with 244 juveniles lodged in the homes, found that 47.95 per cent of them had "positive addiction history".
The study also revealed that 51.28 per cent of the juveniles with positive history of substance abuse are suffering from withdrawal symptoms, which included pain, aches, dizziness, depression and insomnia.
Indicating that drugs were freely available inside the observation homes, the survey said a large number of boys interviewed reported that "they could lay their hands on alcohol, ganja, charas, opium, spasmophroxyne tablets and smack at any time they want".
"The Social Welfare department of the Delhi government has tried to underplay and mislead us about the problem. The report is shocking. It is self-explanatory about the magnitude of substance abuse amongst the juveniles. It needs immediate attention," the magistrate said.
The four-member survey team, consisting of members from non governmental organisations and Child Line officials, was constituted by the court to study and report about the extent of drug abuse among juveniles, their social background and proposed treatment and rehabilitation.
The report also said, "There seems to be significant level of sex abuse happening in the observation home in Majnu Ka Tila besides use of violence to discipline children who flout rules."
"The Majnu Ka Tila home shows a system of collapse and until and unless it is stopped immediately, it may lead to tragic consequences," the report said.
In July 2005, the court had taken a serious view of the Social Welfare Department's non-compliance of a direction to set up de-addiction centres at all juvenile observation homes in Delhi on the lines of the Tihar Central Jail.
"Nothing can be more unfortunate. The basic function of the department is to work for the welfare of the children, women and weaker sections. Bureaucratic approach on such issues will only hamper effective rehabilitation of the juveniles," the magistrate said.
The magistrate had ordered the survey after the mother of a minor boy, addicted to smack and facing trial in a theft case, told the court that his addiction had aggravated after his stay at a juvenile observation home for six months and there was no reformatory there.
The court has sent the report to the high court, which is seized of a matter on the condition of juvenile homes in Delhi.