Drug Abuse: Parents start to opt for voluntary testing of children

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Nanavati Hospital’s Specialised Drug Testing Laboratory is receiving 5-6 requests by walk-in parents and in-house patients on Monthly basis.Along with common drugs such as Cocaine, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Methadone and Opiates, experts cite rising abuse of deadly Phencyclidine (Angel dust), Barbiturates, and Benzodiazepines in patients aging 13-25 years.

Mumbai: Over last one year, over 50-60 parents walked in Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital for voluntary drug testing of their children. Citing the extent of drug addiction and available variety of dangerous drugs, experts advised immediate need to create awareness about ill effects of drug abuse in schools and colleges.

“A large number of youngsters are struggling with addiction than ever before. We get around 5-6 drug test requests per month, predominantly for male patients,” said Dr Maya Varde, Consultant Pathologist, Laboratory Medicine from Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital.

It is observed that majority of these drug abuse patients, land in Cardiac Care Units (CCUs) and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) after suspected poisoning or overdose of drugs, fighting with life and death. “It’s of paramount importance that hazardous effects of these drugs are communicated in schools and colleges,” Dr. Varde added.

As per a recent report by National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Maharashtra has emerged among the highest drug injecting and opiods consuming states of India. The report—Magnitudeof Substance Use in India, suggested thatIndia is home to 8.5 Lakh ‘People Who Inject Drugs (PWID).’ Of approximately 60 lakh people with opioid addiction, more than half are contributed by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

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Most common drugs detected from urine sample at NSSH laboratory are Cocaine, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Methadone, Morphine/Opiates, Phencyclidine (Angel dust/Hog/Killer Weed), Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines and Cannabinoids (THC/Marijuana). Most of the drugs are used or were used in past as medication for variety of neurological disorders or as pain management medication.

“These drugs can be habit forming. Over usage or dosage of these drugs can cause dizziness, drowsiness, respiratory depression and permanent or temporary damage to central nervous system,” said Dr Varde adding that a large campaign on eradication of drug abuse is the need of the hour. “If stakeholders from schools, colleges, NGOs and public health sector unite, we can easily tackle this issue of drug addiction,” she said.

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