Panaji, Sep 6: Substance abuse, which is largely associated with adults, has now trickled down to teenagers with a growing number of school children getting addicted to various narcotics in Goa, according to an NGO working in the field of drug de-addiction.
"The trend of teenagers consuming drugs has suddenly risen in last two-and-half years. Today, the average age of a drug consumer has dropped to even teenagers," said Fr Joseph Pereira, founder of NGO Kripa Foundation, which works on de-addiction pan-India.
Earlier, the college-goers or drop outs were commonly found to be consuming drugs, but today the menace has sneaked in even into schools, he said.
Fr Pereira, who runs a rehab centre in Anjuna, a village known for its all night rave parties, claimed that teenagers doing drugs has attained an alarming proportion.
"It is getting progressively worst in Goa. As it happened in the case of alcohol abuse, Goa has also suffered from denial syndrome when it comes to drugs," he said.
Pereira linked the growing trend of school children attracted towards substance abuse to 'social status' as they see it as an "in-thing" to do. The entry level drug consumers are doing 'weed'.
"This is satanic... by saying satanic I mean this is evil. And this evil is so subtle that by the time you know about it entire society is destroyed. Parents wake up late," he said.
Instances of drug being done by teenagers who come from educated families have been noticed in the recent past, and in few cases, children are being treated at state-run Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour (IPHB).
The incident of two youths dying of drug overdose in Curtorim village (South Goa) during a birthday party in April this year had shocked entire Goa.