The issue of poverty is key source for
several socio-psychological and economic problems of society in the developing
countries like India. The economic status of families has a bearing on the
better sociolisation and development of its members. The affluent families help its members to
prosper holistically. The families living below poverty line are vulnerable to
the risk of hunger, malnutrition, working children, juvenile delinquency, and
perhaps substance abuse among its members irrespective of age. Substance abuse
is one of the top problems confronting the nation today especially among the adolescents.
Incidences of drug and alcohol abuse and related anti-social behaviour have
tremendously increased in recent past. This has become a matter of concern to
the government, parents, teachers, non-governmental organizations and all the
stake holders of development. It affects the nation as a whole-both in the urban
and rural areas. The problem cuts across class. It is not only in slums or low
income areas but also where people are poor and unhappy and with families
living under better conditions (rich and calmer) where children are better
abuse is a major problem in the world today that has social, economic, medical
and legal implications. As such, some of the drugs filter into the local market
(Kimllu, 2005). Alcohol and illegal
substance abuse causes serious problems affecting the psychological and
physical health of youth. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2012)
estimates that in 15.5-38.6 million people were drug users in 2010 worldwide.
According to World Health Organization (2011) young people between the age of
15 and 29 die due to alcohol-related causes are 3, 20,000 every year. Overall,
harmful alcohol use results in 2.5 million deaths each year that arises from
unintentional and intentional injuries.
a number of studies on substance abuse in the developing countries has been
characterized by the use of low-priced and accessible drugs, such as cannabis,
alcohol, and tobacco, and volatiles, such as glue (cited in Sherman and others
2005). Most of the drug addicts nearly 80% get addicted before the age of 30
years (Rao and Vasudevan, 1980).
Many adolescents and youth are likely to
adopt behaviors that are very common among adults sometime during their
transition to full adulthood, without the knowledge of undesirable health
consequences. There are evidences that young people smokes whose parent’s also smoke
(Conrad et al. 1992).
A study by Winger and others (2004) explore
various physiological effects such as accelerated heartbeat, speeding in the
peripheral circulation of the blood, alteration of blood pressure, breathing
rate and other body functions normally decline. Drugs abuse
affect the brain and results in major decline in the functions. Drugs affect
the concentration, which is drastically reduced and boredom sets in much faster
than for non-drugs and substance abusers. The students lose interest in schooling
as well as in extracurricular activities. Due to this, absenteeism in school is
at increase. Most of the psychoactive drugs affect the decision making process,
creative thinking and the development of life and social skills. They also
interfere with the awareness of an individual’s unique potential and interest
and affect career development (KYALO, 2010).
Self-esteem is defined as the positive
or negative attitude about self. Self-esteem is viewed as a feeling of
self-appreciation. Poverty and Low self-esteem has a association. Withdrawal,
depression and lack of self-confidence are symptoms of low self-esteem. Many
adolescents express anger and frustration because they do not complete certain
tasks easily or efficiently. When these feelings are turned inward they
reinforce feeling of low self-esteem.
Education is meant to overcome social exclusion of disadvantaged group
and it is a tool to reduce inequalities in the society. Scheduled tribes face
many barriers in attaining education. Studies have shown that social support is
positively related to self-esteem of student and self-esteem is positively
associated with academic outcomes (Uday and others, 2013).
Statement of the
members of families especially adolescents with below poverty line are
vulnerable to various substances. Adolescents are the backbone of any society.
They are the future of nation. Their proper productive human resource has
something to do with their succeeding stages of life. Adolescent is a period
often confront with deviant behavior in individual’s life. At this stage Adolescents
are capable to understand ideas of others, learn by establishing the
relationships, construct the purpose of the life, and begin to take decisions.
If the adolescents deviate due to substances, their future will be in dark. We
cannot expect responsible citizens from a section of adolescent victims of
substance abuse. Hence, a study on substance abuse among the adolescets has
something to do with optimum utilization of their productive human resources.
Social Work profession, being development centered profession has a big deal in
World Health Organization (1997)
identifies adolescence as the period in human growth and development that
occurs after childhood and before adulthood, from ages 10 to19 years. It
represents one of the critical transitions in the life span.
Substance use: Substance abuse refers to chronic or habitual use of
any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind, other than medically
warranted purposes leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s
physical or mental health or the welfare of others (Drug Addiction and Drug
ICD-10 defines substance abuse as a disorder due to psychoactive substance use.
The identification of the disorder is based on the following measures of which
three or more criteria occur within 12 months for the diagnosis; acute need of
intoxication, harmful use of substances; signifying strong desire to take drugs
with difficulties in controlling its use and persisting the use despite of the
consequences, withdrawal symptoms after the use, increasing tolerance to
consume substances, the misuse directs the abuser’s life and the misuse
continues despite of the harmful effects (World Health Organization, 2007).
are characteristics within the individual or conditions in the family, school
or community that increase the
likelihood someone will engage in unhealthy behavior such as: the use of
alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, violence, suicide, or early sexual activity (Alaska Division of Behavioral Health, 2011).
Protective factors: are
characteristics within the individual or conditions in the family, school or
community that help someone coping successfully with life challenges. When
people can successfully negotiate their problems and deal with pre-existing
risk factors, they are less likely to engage in unhealthy behavior (Alaska Division of
Behavioral Health, 2011).
Poverty: Fundamentally, poverty is the inability of
having choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack
of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having
enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not
having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not
having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of
individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence,
and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access
to clean water or sanitation (UN, Statement, 1998).
and Protective Factors for Use and Abuse of Substance:
factors of family cause drug abuse of the youth. Parents’ behavior,
relationship between parents and the family atmosphere and, family’s economic
standing contributes significantly on the incidences of substances. In Glynn’s explores,
parent’s substance was most influential factor in affecting a child’s substance
abuse. This was explained using Bandura’s social learning theory; modeling the
parent’s behavior of substance use if the adolescent identified with that of parent.
(1982) reveals the substance abuse problems in Kenya for the first time. It is noted
that formerly, the psychoactive substances that were commonly abused in Kenya
were alcohol and Khat, but over the years there have been an upsurge in
use and abuse of a variety other substances like tobacco, cannabis sativa, and
volatile substances. He also found that among the youth; between 50 percent and
60 percent consume alcohol regularly. Nadeem and others (2009) depict that the changing
cultural values, increasing economy stress and dwindling supportive bonds are leading
to initiation of substance use.
Peer substance use has consistently
been found to be among the strongest predictors of substance use among youth.
Associating with deviant peers and perceiving approval of drug-using behaviour
among peers are also important risk factors. School-related factors such as academic failure, beginning in
late elementary school are related to substance use, as is lack of commitment
to school and low bonding with other students and teachers (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2007).
In order to fill up the research lacunas
identified over in-depth survey of available literature following objectives
have been formulated;
1. To identify the socio
demographic profile, substance use pattern and self-esteem among substance
using adolescents hailing from below poverty line families in select slum of Vijayapura city;
2. To explore the substance use pattern among adolescnts; and
3. To suggest Social Work intervention for the prevention and rehabilitation
of adolescents victims of substances.
order to satisfy objectives, it was adopted exploratory research design. The
study area is adolescents
between the age group of 10 to 19 years hails from poor families who are leaving in slum
of Rani Bagicha of Vijayapura City. Adopting a participatory approach the
researcher has been visiting the community every evening. Total sample of 30 Adolescents
victim of substances selected adopting a snow ball sampling method. The primary
data had been collected directly from the adolescents by using semi-structured interview
schedule, Rosen Berge’s self-esteem scale, and Alcohol, Smoking and Substance
Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST). The data collected according to above
procedures was subjected to processing.
It was analyzed by the software Statistical Package for the
Social Sciences version 20 for Windows.
Results and Discussion:
It is found that out of 30 substance
abused Adolescents majority (83%) of them belongs
to Hindu religion. A significant 60% of them are educated up to secondary
education. Many of them 43% are working in construction work. It is to be noted
that due to poverty many are to work as construction workers. It is apparent
that the educational background and working conditions have something to with
the adopting the substances among the adolescents in a slum (see table 1).
Socio-demographic details of the respondents
What kind of work do you primarily do
With reference to incidences of substances
and need assessment of intervention with adolesccents, the tool ASSIST scale of
World Health Organisation was used. It is found that majority of them use
Tobacco 96 percent; Alcohol 53 percent; Cannabis 10 percent; Inhalants 26
percent, Sleeping Pills 6.67 percent and other Substances 30 percent (see table-2). It is clear that adolescents are more
vulnerable to consumption of different forms of Tobacco followed by
alcoholism. Majority of the adolescents
require intervention to overcome from the incidences of consumption of tobacco.
Table-2: Classification of ASSIST for intervention
4-16 receive brief
27+ more intensive
0-10 no intervention
11-26 receive brief
27 and more intensive
0-3 no intervention
4-26 receive brief
0-3 no intervention
0-3 no intervention
4-26 receive brief
receive brief intervention
Other substance use
0-3 no intervention
4-26 receive brief
27+ more intensive
*** Significant at 0.001 level, NS= Not significant
The self-esteem of the adolescents
victims of substances was explored. It was adopted Rosenberg self-esteem scale
to measure the same. The findings reveal that a majority 70 percent of the adolescents
are found to have low self-esteem. The research found be risk of poverty and
hunger. When it is cross tabulated with the age cohorts of the adolescents, it
is found there is a significant association between the age of the adolescents and
their self esteem.
Self-Esteem of the respondents
15 and below low self esteem
16 and above high self esteem
The study reveals that poverty and low
esteem is resulting into increased substance use among adolescents in the
selected slum of Vijayapura city. Adolescents are phase of exploring self and
rebellion and they go on taking the risks in the form of adopting substances. It
is the age when the majority of adolescents start to use of substances like
inhalants and tobacco and later progress to alcohol, ganja, cocaine and other
drugs. One of the study found that adolescents often believe that drug use
improves their coping with personal difficulties and quarrels with parents and peers
(O’Malley et al., 1998). Adolescents require some sort of intervention in order
to prevent and rehabilitate. There is a need to enhance their self esteem. In
this context, social work profession has a great deal. The group of adolescent’s victim of
substances is treated as a therapeutic group and group work interventions can
be made in order to enhance their self esteem and make them to help in this
regard to help themselves. In view of above following suggestions are made;
The livelihood opportunities be enhanced
to address the issues of poverty and hunger in order to prevent consequences
like substance abuse.
Local governments need to create an
appropriate and effective substance use prevention programme.
Universities and colleges teachers need
identify the adolescents with substance background and refer for counselling.
There is a need to impart awareness
regarding substance use by using IEC materials.
There is a need to appoint a psychiatric
social worker for effective implementation of substance abuse prevention
Family can play a major role in changing
behavior of the adolescents by adopting the principle of unlearning.
An inclusive curriculum on substance use
and its impact is introduced in secondary schools so that they can prevent it
at the stages of adolescent.