Over 90 percent of the estimated 30,000 street children in Karachi are addicted to different drugs, a new study has found.
A study by an NGO, working on the issues of street children in the metropolis, revealed that while 74 percent of these addicts are involved in either glue sniffing or hashish, 15 percent consume heroin.
Initiator Human Development Foundation president Rana Asif Habib said that these children then start begging and utilizing other illegal means of income to buy narcotics.
Glue, which is not declared a drug in Pakistan, is easily accessible to anyone, including children. Street children tend to use glue because it is cheaper than the other drugs.
The NGO also found that a large number of children were also taking sleeping pills while 60 percent of them were involved in drinking wine.
"The street children start taking drugs soon after smoking cigarettes, taking chewable tobaccos (Gutka) and sleeping pills. Thus, they shortly incline to glue or solvent sniffing and hashish and gradually become heroin and wine addicts. The survival rate in heroin addicts is very low as compared to other drugs," the Daily Times quoted Habib, as saying.
When asked why these children did not want to return to their homes, he said that the mafia was looking after them and always kept a vigil on them.
So they do not prefer to return as they enjoy a free, luxurious life when compared to their homes where they hardly get meals, he said.
He further said that poverty, domestic violence and violence at schools and seminaries played key roles in making children, aged 6-18, abandon their homes.