Many of the homeless children in the capital find solace in sniffing correction fluid and adhesives, which is a relatively new trend and is widely gaining popularity among them.
Inhaling the fluid gives them quick, powerful high, staves off hunger, fear and lonliness. But little are they aware of the ill effects of this slow poison which damages brain and nervous system, liver, kidneys, causes cardiac arrest and sudden death.
Solvent abuse among street children has reached alarming levels. Most of those addicted to it are in 5-16 age group and are quite vulnerable to drug abuse. They can be seen sniffing solution on almost every major road, every busy traffic junction and railway stations - begging, cleaning cars, collecting garbage, selling baloons.
This situation is very difficult to tackle as one cannot prevent the stationary and hardware shops from selling such products. Police often harass shopkeepers when youngsters are held for sniffing fluid. However, some shopkeepers being aware of the addictive use of correction fluid and glue either increase the cost or do not sell them to minors but yet it is difficult to curb it completely. The next difficult step is to
convince the youngsters not to use them.
Salaam Balak Trust, an NGO for street kids, conducts daily training and counselling sessions along with two meals for the homeless children in many of their daycare centres. They also run integrated de-addiction programmes for street kids. Rajesh, a trainer cum counseller at one of the day care centre, who has spent more than 10 years with street kids said " The solvent addicts are spoiling other children. They hardly attend our classes and only come to eat the meals we provide. We do the counseling of such kids on a regular basis and also teach them meditation and yoga."