Bengaluru: Academic pressure and university culture cited for substance abuse, study finds | Bangalore News

BENGALURU: A research paper on young people in the city colleges by the faculty of Nimhans quoted students saying academic pressurerelationship breakdowns and university culture as some of the reasons for the increase in substance use.
A study was conducted among university students aged 18-25 pursuing non-vocational courses who volunteered to talk about it. While a third of respondents said they had tried such substances themselves, 66% said they knew at least one classmate had a substance use problem. The study, “How can today’s young drug users be helped to quit smoking?” Perspectives of University Students from Bangalore, India”, was produced by Pratima MurthyPadmavati Doraiswamy and Prasanti Nattala.

‘Socio-economic status’ was cited as an important factor influencing the type of substance young people may choose to use: if students come from wealthy families, they use cocaine or heroin. They also use “more sophisticated” methods, such as going to a brasserie where the atmosphere is really “awesome” and “many varieties of alcohol are available”. Poorer students use locally available alcohol/pain salves/beedis, according to the study.
While students said stress from relationship breakups and academic pressure was a major reason, substance use has become “part of the college culture and current trend,” particularly smoking. They feel the need to be part of the “pub culture”.
The students said that it is very easy to get access to substances and that you can have them delivered “like a pizza”.
The article re-emphasized previous studies that more freedom, rebellious attitudes, media influence, childhood trauma, distrust of family/friends, lack of knowledge regarding adverse effects substances and poor life skills have led to increased use.
It was inferred from the students that alcohol, tobacco (mainly in the form of cigarettes/gutka), cocaine, marijuana (including weed, bhola – locally prepared cannabis joints), mushrooms, heroin, cough syrups, inhalants, sleeping pills and medicines to reduce depression, fever and pain are the substances commonly used in Bangalore Colleges.
Alcohol and tobacco (in the form of cigarettes) are most commonly used, given their easy availability. Alcohol is often consumed “pure”, without dilution. Cannabis has become equally common, and cannabis and tobacco are often taken together. Drugs are regularly purchased from pharmacies without a prescription, according to the research paper.
While many young people migrate to this city for education and employment, Bengaluru, with its large liquor distilleries and sales volume, offers better access to alcohol and other substances, said Nimhans faculty members.
At a workshop held at the Nimhans Center for Mental Wellbeing on Saturday for volunteers who wanted to help students involved with drug addiction, Prashanthi said the age to start using drugs had dropped significantly. The number of women with access to substances has also increased.

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