Students of a UP school make a survey of those taking drugs, liquor in their locality

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on June 26, is usually observed with a pledge or a token rally, and is forgotten. But at the Government UP School at Kundungal here, the day is a trigger for year-long activities.

Students of this school visited 100 houses in the locality over the past one year to study the usage of drugs, liquor, and other intoxicants. Last week their findings were published as a report, which was discussed at a meeting involving the PTA and people from the locality on Friday.

The report will feed the awareness campaigns to be taken up by the school in the coming months under a project ‘Lahari muktha gramam’ (Drug-free Village). School headmaster P.K. Sathish told The Hindu that an inquiry into the reasons for low marks of some students revealed the negative influence of family situations on their studies.

“We realised that drinking was a huge problem in many households in the area. The children could not study at home. This led to the idea of a survey involving students,” says Mr. Sathish. addiction

In their visit to the hundred houses, the students found 56 smokers, 36 people who consume alcohol, and 15 who use pan masala. “We collected information on each member. Some did not let us in and questioned our intention. We are sure some were lying when they denied using intoxicants,” says P.V. Ibrahim, a class VII student who was part of the seven-member group.

Another striking finding was on the education of the adults. Only 5 per cent of the adults in the houses surveyed had studied beyond class X. Many were regular drinkers.

“We do not intend to stop with this report. Campaigns and distribution of pamphlets will be conducted in a wider area involving 500 houses,” says E.P. Fathima Farida, another member of the survey group.

Mr. Sathish said government schools must intervene in such local issues as it results in public good and gives students invaluable lessons. “The school was facing shortage of students a few years back. But over the past two years, such campaigns have made a difference and attracted more students. The number was hovering around 50 last year, but it reached 97 this year. Next year, we are sure of getting 150 students,” says Mr. Sathish.

Last year, the school had organised a campaign to clean up the portion of the Kallayi river nearby. This year, another group of 20 students will conduct a survey of the drop in reading habit by concentrating on library memberships in the city.

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