Derelict street children susceptible to drug addiction
The hustle-bustle Rajshahi city was becoming calm with the gradually growing night. Tired and exhausted city dwellers were preparing to take rest while night guards were patrolling the streets.
It was around midnight. Then three children aged between seven and 10 were seen busy to collect polythene at Rajshahi railway station.
They were roaming around the tea-stalls and looking for polythene left out by customers as well as shop owners. At last, they succeeded to collect it within a few moments. As soon as they got the polythene, they went to a dark corner of the station and sat on the floor in a circle with some other children who were waiting there. Approaching towards them, the correspondent found they were inhaling something from these polythene bags. All the children, numbering around 7 to 8, got disturbed as a stranger approached towards them and tried to talking to them. After building rapport, the correspondent started talking to the children to know about their activities.
The correspondent came to know that as a collective initiative, they buy glue (solutions) from a sanitary or stationary shop. The glue is normally used to repair or join leather or wooden goods.After opening the cover of a solution packet, they kept it in a polythene bag. Then they took the vapour of solution by inhaling and exhaling until it was exhausted. The smoke which they were inhaling and exhaling is popularly known as Dandy.
Sniffing glues is one of the favourite narcotics item to them because it is available and cheaper, said 10-year-old Sharif Hossain, a member of the glue sniffing team there.After completing the glue, the children started behaving abnormally.
They were laughing loudly, scuffling one-another, using abusive words and so on.
“We are flying in the sky. Now, we can do everything what we wish,” said Anwar Hossain, another member of the gang.“I came from a nearby district Noagoan around one year ago for employment. Initially, I started working at a restaurant as a cleaner. But I was terminated around six months ago over an allegation of stealing,” said Anwar.
Later, he started collecting wastage from streets, dustbins, railway and bus stations and from other places, he said, adding that during that time he came in contact with Shariful Islam, a boy of the glue gang.“Now we take Dandy regularly. It makes good feelings inside us. If we fail to take it a day, our bodies feel different types of troubles,” said Shairf Hossain, who has been taking Dandy for around one year.
Not only Anwar and Sharif, but also dozens of children got addicted to Dandy in Rajshahi city.
There are around 6,000 street children in Rajshahi city. Most of them take different kind of drugs, according to a study of Association for Community Development (ACD) that works for community development at Rajshahi region.The association officials sought necessary actions from authorities concerned to prevent the children from being drug addicted.
Manzur Quader, district Children Affairs Officer in Rajshahi, said they were conducting programmes to rehabilitate the street children and bring them
back to normal life.Many children from slums of Shaheb Bazar, Bhodra, Boharampur and nearby areas have already been rehabilitated through Shishu Bikash Kendra (SBK), he added.Talking to the correspondent, Lutfar Rahman, deputy director of Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) at Rajshahi region, said they are working to wipe out drug materials from markets so that children cannot get it available.
He also stressed the need for public awareness to protect children from being addicted, he added.
Dr Mahbubur Rahman of Medicine Department of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, said children’s kidney, lung and other parts of body can severely be damaged due to taking drugs.
He stressed the need for launching social movement to prevent the nuisance.