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If I don’t take Drugs, How will I survive?: A Documentary On Drug Abuse By Street Kids

Posted on December 20, 2008 in Society

-Anshul Tewari

Recently, I was walking in a market of East Delhi, known as Samachar Market, with a few friends. Everything was perfectly fine until I saw a group of street children, around 6-8 years of age. They all had ragpicking bags in one hand and were playing and fighting with each other. I thought of going closer to them and asking them a couple of questions about their lives; Where they lived? What were the common problems they faced? This thought came to my mind for a new article on their lives ( I have done an article on the lives of street children before as well. Check it out HERE).

When I reached closer and asked them about what they were upto, none of them could reply properly. Not that they did not want to, just that they were not being able to talk or even stand properly. They had taken too much drugs. Yes that’s right, DRUGS.

I could clearly see in their hands, bottles of DILUTER (a liquid used to dilute liquids which harden). What shocked me even more was that not one or two, but all of them had bottles or a cloth, in which they had put the liquid, in their hands. They smelled it after ever 5 seconds. It suddenly came to my mind and I immediately took out my camera to record them. I interviewed them for a minute or so and came to know a lot. Below is the video. You can clearly see that as the child is talking, he is simultaneously taking drugs and the children around him are also in a state of semi-conciousness. All this came as a shock to me. Our research at Youth Ki Awaaz has made us learn a lot about this social evil.
Here are a few facts:

  • Out of 18 million street children in India, a shocking 90% indulge in Drug abuse, 75% of which do it to fight hunger,
  • Around 10,000 street children near the New Delhi Railway Station take drugs,
  • 90% of the drug peddelars who provide them with drugs, consist of relatives or acquaintances,
  • The concerned authorities are well aware about this but no concrete step has been taken, even the rehabilitation camps do not come forward.

Watch closely, as the video quality is not too good. Subtitles have been added for your convenience.
This is our first ever documentation. Do post your comments.

This is not a problem which is unknown, but the question is that WHY HASN’T ANYTHING BEEN DONE ABOUT IT?

There are a few reasons to this:
Reason 1– The drug providers earn additional income from this business and the number of providers is ever increasing.

Reason 2– The concerned authorities get complaints and tell the local police to take action, but instead, the local police takes a cut from the income of the drug providers. Only a few genuine cops take actions.

Reason 3– The rehabilitation centers are facing space problems to accomodate such a large number, plus, a number of these institutions lack the facilities and the member staff to deal with the increasing number of patients, and also, many become money driven and corrupt.

Reason 4– This is the biggest reason, and that is, WE ARE IGNORANT….Yes we are. Accept it.


What can we do? Many people asked this question when I showed them my documentary. Many said “Lets file a complaint”.
Well, we all know that our system lacks the immediate protocol to such incidents. We all know the problem with our system. So lets stop blaming it for everything, Lets stop cribbing and lets stand for ourselves.
Why can’t we contact NGO’s and reach out to media channels? Why can’t we make people aware and get them involved? Why can’t we stop cribbing and start addressing the right questions to the right people? Why? Are we crippled as a people? Well I don’t think so. Tell us if you have more solutions, post them as comments, make your voice heard.

We immediately called up Global March, an NGO for Child rights and got the response, then why can’t you?
Be the change, don’t expect others to do it.

If you ever see a child who needs help (against any kind of exploitation/drug abuse/or any problem) contact the following NGO’s at the following numbers:

Prayas:EE Block, Jahangirpuri, Delhi-110033, Tel:27634853 [Mr. Vivek Upadhyay, Project Manager (Mobile) 09311850046] Email:

: Tel.No.-1098