Drug Awareness volunteer program
Drug awareness volunteering in Nepal
We believe that in order to ensure a bright future for our country and whole humanity, it is essential that our children be raised in a drug-free environment. To accomplish this, Third Eye Volunteers runs several programs throughout the year, including the distribution of Drug Awareness Pamphlets, a Poster Contest, Coloring Contest, and an Essay Contest. In addition, seminars are held for Drug Awareness, to provide them with the latest information .
Happy days. Countless hours spent sniffing dendrite, smoking cigarettes, drinking “chyang”, watching movies, playing cards, marbles, and video games. This is the life of a street child in Kathmandu. No responsibilities and fun with friends. According to one child, “I don’t want to go home because I earn money here. I earn 100 to 150 rupees per day by rag picking. I eat meat and rice and with the rest of the money, I buy dendrite and drink alcohol. I’m the leader of my group.”
Comments such as this reinforce the public perception of unruly, uncontrollable, and non reform able children. Many children do not regret their decision to live on the street. One child explains, “I like to stay on the street. Everyone loves me here.” For most of us, leaving behind family and friends to live life on the street is an unappealing choice. However, for these children, the home life they are leaving behind is often more abusive than street life. “When my father died, our family situation got very bad. We didn’t even have proper food. When I left, my mother was beating me badly, so I took a bus and left home.” Stories of abuse and neglect are common among street children. Coming from hostile home environments and the need for personal security on the street, it becomes easy to understand the intense bonding that occurs among street children.
At the same time, strong bonds can become a source of peer pressure and exploitation among street children. Inhalant use, also known as “glue sniffing”, is a popular social activity among Kathmandu street children. Those who choose not to inhale dendrite are forced to inhale by their peers through physical coercion. One child explains, “When I start sniffing, it becomes an addiction. What to do? I get sick. Friends force me when I quit. I can’t say no to friends.” Once addicted to dendrite, the child is subject to exploitation by older street children and shopkeepers. “I am living on the street and I’m the leader of my group of 6 to 7. They are totally under me. I don’t beg anymore. They give me their earnings, if they don’t I beat them badly.”
Another child reports exploitation from the shopkeepers who sell dendrite to addicted street children. “In a group we use 7-8 tubes to sniff. Each tube costs 50 rupees. Sometimes I’ve paid 100 rupees for a tube when I’m sick. Some shopkeepers are bad and charge high prices.” These shopkeepers are consciously profiting from a child’s addiction.
Research participants indicated that dendrite is easily purchased in the Ason, Jamal, Kalopul, and Kalimati districts of Kathmandu and the Kumaripati district of Lalitpur. Dendrite sniffing typically takes place in a group setting. Groups as large as 30 street children inhale dendrite together. A group of 12 children can inhale up to 8 tubes of dendrite per day. Milk packets and polyurethane bags are generally used to contain the dendrite for easy inhalation.
Most of the children interviewed expressed a desire to end their dendrite addiction; however, many did not know how to achieve this. The children participating in the study ranged from 6 years old to 13 years old. One child states, “I want to change myself but I can’t and I don’t know why.” Another says, “I don’t want to die soon. Feel like I’m mad. I don’t like drugs because one of my friends died because of these drugs.”
It is up to concerned citizens, child welfare organizations, and the government to address the problem of dendrite use. Aside from their peers, these children have no guidance or support in overcoming addiction. This is not only a moral obligation but also mandated by Article 24.1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that no child should be deprived of the right to access health care services. This convention was ratified by the Government of Nepal on October 14th, 1990. It is crucial that this commitment is fully implemented with regard to dendrite use because the lives of hundreds of children in Kathmandu are at stake.