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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 2259-2264

Sociodemographic and psychosocial correlates of substance abuse among street children: A cross-sectional survey in the streets of Kolkata, West Bengal


1 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine and JNM Hospital, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Final Year MBBS Student, College of Medicine and JNM Hospital, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College, Sanath Nagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gandhari Basu
ABAKASH, Port Blair Lines, Chiriamore, Barrackpore, Kolkata - 700 120, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2449_20

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Context: India is now witnessing steady increase of substance abuse in younger age group. Street life is a major reason in addition to curiosity, unawareness of harm, migration, peer pressure. Aims: To assess the prevalence, pattern and related factors of substance use and stress among the street living children. Settings and Design: This street-based observational, cross sectional survey included 150 street children living in vicinity of railway stations, business activity centre and major religious places of Kolkata. Methods and Material: A descriptive research was done in 150 street children, aged 6 to 18 years and stayed in the street for at least six months. Respondents and care givers were interviewed with pre designed proforma to obtain information on socio demographic attributes, pattern of substance abuse, psycho social issues, self rated health. Weight and height were recorded by calibrated standardized instrument. Statistical analysis used: Collected data were analyzed with SPSS 22.0(licensed). Chi-square test or Fisher's exact test was done for normally distributed, skewed and categorical variables respectively. The significance level was set at 5%. Results: Two-thirds of participants used substance. Illiteracy was significantly more in females. Perceived positive benefit was commonest reason while feeling happiness and diminished pain was the most common expectation behind substance abuse. Peer group had the biggest influence (92.0%) on their life. Substance abuse was significantly more in males, adolescents, employed, without family attachment, adult as influencer and in those who lived on street without family. Conclusions: Higher prevalence of substance abuse among males, adolescents with adult influencer, employed and without family attachment highlighted the urgent need of intervention to see a better future.


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