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Dhaka Tribune

Rajshahi street children vulnerable to ‘Dandi’

Update : 20 Aug 2013, 05:32 PM

Hundreds of street children in Rajshahi have been getting addicted to an adhesive solution, locally known as ‘Dandi’ a mixture of shoe solvent and glue, as it is cheap and easy to obtain.

Children aged between seven to 16 years, have been using the drug extensively, while most of them have been getting involved in crimes such as mugging and stealing with some of them even begging to manage the money for purchasing the drug.

Though there is no exact figure of such drug users, some of the drug abusers themselves said, at least several hundred street children, who collect polythene bags, unused plastic products and other materials from the garbage and street side, have been using the drug a for long time.

The reporter found that the street children at Railway Station, Sheriol bus stand, Saheb Bazaar, Zero Point and Laxmipur Rajshahi Medical College Hospital areas are more prone to the Dandy.

12-year-old boy Mamun, who came to Rajshahi from Manda of Naogaon three years ago and started living as a scavenger at Rajshahi railway station, said a street child like him at first offered him to breath the gum.

“After taking the drug once, I felt different and felt ecstatic, then I started to take the drug again and again” said Mamun. Another drug abuser Shafiqe said: “Gradually I became the regular user of dandi; I became dependent on it.”

He added that “at one stage of using the drug, when I used to inhale it over and over, my nose would start to bleed.”

Another drug abuser said: “I can understand that the drug is detrimental to health, but I cannot resist myself because it attracts me strongly.”

Describing the process how they prepare the drug to inhale, they said at first they collect synthetic rubber adhesive, which is used to join wood, rubber, shoes, for only Tk25 to Tk45.

Then they put the gum into polythene bags, which inhale strongly, giving them a feeling of excitement, they said.

Dr Nazib Wadood, deputy chief medical officer of Rajshahi University Medical Centre, said dandy is made of a highly toxic chemical. Sniffing such an adhesive may cause damage to the lungs, brain, liver and blood. Salima Sarwar, a human rights activist, said drug addiction of children is not only harmful to them but also for the society.

She added that the children, who are now engaged in petty, anti-social activities to manage the money for the drug, are going to one day be engaged in crimes of a larger scale when older.

The government should take measures to rehabilitate the street children for the sake of the greater good of the society, she added.  

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