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Title: Changing mindsets? : evolution of a rehabilitation programme for chemically dependent male street adolescents in a major Indian city
Author: D'Souza, Barnabe
ISNI:       0000 0004 2668 6266
Awarding Body: Coventry University in collaboration with University of Worcester
Current Institution: Coventry University
Date of Award: 2008
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Inhalant abuse is a pervasive, yet under-recognized fonn of substance abuse that crosses demographic, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries, causing significant morbidity and mortality in school-aged and older children. Internationally, inhalant abuse is rampant among street children in many urban centers, in both developed and developing countries, and represents a global health issue. WHOestimates that globally, 25%to 90% of street children indulge in substance use (WHO, 1997). India accounts for the highest number of street children in the world. The transient nature of this population renders it difficult to quote exact numbers, but estimates range from 11 million (UNICEF, 1994) to around 18 million (Human Rights Watch, 1996). Running away exposes children to stressful life on the streets, which accompanied by lack of parental care and supervision and easy access to intoxicating substances, creates an atmosphere conducive ~, for indulging in substance use. Astudy of substance abuse among street children in Delhi in 2002 revealed that about 57% of street children between the ages of6 and 16 had indulged in some form of substance abuse, the agents of choice being nicotine (44.5%) and inhalants (24.3%). Even more disturbing was the fact that the minimum age at starting substance abuse was 5.5 years. Little research exists concerning treatment needs and successful treatment modalities specific to inhalant users. As with other types of substance abuse, the most effective way to curtail use is through broad prevention efforts. Limiting the availability of volatile substances is impractical, because they constitute products that are universally available, legal and have legitimate uses. Primary prevention is through education paired with skills-building, working with families, schools, communities, media and other potential change agents. Prevention programs also include community readiness models, street outreach programs, drop-in and residential treatment centers, and individual, group, and family counseling in a variety of settings. Residential treatment has not been a sufficient response to widespread inhalant abuse. My experience in the field suggested that working on changing the mindsets of male street inhalant abusers had the potential to bring about sustained behavioural change. In an effort to portray children's own voices as citizens and their capabilities as agents of change, I have utilised participatory action research that incorporated feedback from the field into the development ofpractical interventions and investigated treatment models (such as cognitivebehavioral therapy) effective for adolescents. My practice has been reflective, embedded in the circumstances of children's lives and issues and responsive to changing needs. -0 Myresearch has demonstrated that a paradigmatic shift can take place in street inhalant abusers through a guided thought process, essential for informed choice. This cognitive process has helped the street inhalants make the transition from a mindset dominated by instant gratification, living for the day and impulsive decision making to a well-thought-out, reflective and cognitive approach. This research has reconfirmed my belief that sustained cognitive inputs can bring about and identity change and long term behavioural changes provided the adolescents have strong positive intentions, efforts and motivations to change their situations within a friendly, guided environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform ; L Education (General)