Catch them young, is the motto to prevent the youth from taking to drug addiction. Prevention is far easier than cure for the affliction, say social workers. As drug abuse becomes a serious problem in many parts of the country, the awareness drive to keep young children from drug abuse has to start from home. Mothers can play a very serious and fruitful role in this, if they can drive home the dangers of substance abuse to their children. As children grow into adolescence, they may experiment with drugs and then get trapped. Orissa POST asked a few mothers and others working to eradicate drug abuse on how best to prevent children from falling prey to the menace.
Poonam Naik, a student working to eradicate drug abuse in Bhubaneswar, said, “It’s the parents who can inculcate a strong moral sense in their children because they are the most important persons in the children’s lives as they are growing up. Adolescence is the time when young kids want to experiment with new things. Keep the advice simple, but be serious. Ask them not to take a pill or similar substance from anyone, not even from a friend, no matter what they offer. Just warn them: “You can become addicted! You could die!” The child should feel the impact of your voice and the energy of your words. As they get older, mothers can discuss more extensively about the dangers of drug abuse.”
Puspanjali Mishra, an herbalist, said, “Drugs don’t mean only heroin or cocaine but anything made out of chemicals that can lead to addiction. Working parents must avoid using too many medicines in their house. Children may follow parents if they take a pill for good sleep. Some people may be too dependent on medication for ailments such as headache, acidity, pain and so on. Their children may follow in their steps. It’s better to avoid drugs for minor health issues and parents should teach their children this from an early age. Then, children will be more careful before taking drugs for minor ailments.”
Arundhati Samal, a homemaker in Bhubaneswar, said, “Drug abuse is a menace to which children get exposed during times of transition, such as when they grow into their teens. Children at this period are exposed to addictive substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and drugs for the first time. When they enter college, teens may find greater availability of drugs, including during social activities. They may find some seniors using drugs. Do your best to caution your child about such substances, friends and social activities. Share information about the ill-effects of drugs with your children before they reach college. And always try not to leave them alone at home, in case both parents are working.”
Dr. Anima Panda, a psychologist, said, “Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can manifest in children at a young age. In many cases, those who face such issues are more likely to have a substance abuse problem. Also teens that come from broken or abusive homes are rarely aware of the consequences of drug abuse. It’s mandatory for women to keep their children aware of a peaceful lifestyle and also it’s good to teach them meditation and pranayam at an early age. Parents must ensure that they do not entangle the children in unpleasant family issues.”