by Doctor Susan Mathew
KOLKATA, SEP 23, 2015: The Don Bosco Research Centre's (DBRC) training programme for teachers on substance abuse was held in Kolkata on September 19-20, at Don Bosco NITIKA.
Doctor Devapriya Mallick, Director, Human Development and Research Institute, Kolkata, co-ordinated with teachers from various schools across the city; together with Don Bosco NITIKA, that provided logistical support and catering services, for the two day training programme.
Over 50 teachers participated, with sessions handled by Doctor Tinni Dutta, professor of psychology at Asutosh college and Jayita Das, programme manager, Human Development and Research Institute.
The resource persons touched upon important aspects of substance abuse like prevalence, patterns and the need to address it from a young age among children.
Regarding gender differences in substance abuse, men had more access and were more likely to abuse alcohol and marijuana than women; while women were addicted to sedatives as a means of coping with stress and the trauma of physical and sexual abuse.
Substances mostly abused by school students were alcohol, brown sugar, dendrite, ganja and tablets.
Children below 15 years were the high risk group as 63 percent were found to be substance abusers.
The session also dealt with legal aspects as well as punishment for illegal use of substances.
The role of schools and teachers in identifying, handling the problem and preventive measures were made clear to the participants through theoretical inputs accompanied by activity sessions.
Das emphasised the need to look out for signs and symptoms and the protective factors that could help children from falling into the cycle of substance abuse.
It is important that teachers and parents communicate with each other and share their children's problems, integrating drug education in the curriculum, establishing and maintaining a healthy atmosphere at home and in school.
Writing to sports personalities not to endorse tobacco or alcohol products, communicating to film, television and magazine producers and editors not to promote tobacco or alcohol use in their scripts, creating anti-drug art projects for display around the school and helping revise the existing school drug policy or curriculum were other important recommendations suggested.
Activities to strengthen the understanding of the role of teachers, parents and friends was conducted by Veena Sharma, DBRC.
Susan Mathew, DBRC conducted a recap of the training programme and the way forward for teachers at their respective schools.
Pre- evaluation and post- assessment forms were collected from the participants to gauge their level of understanding before and after the training, and certificates were distributed to all the teachers.