Children turning to toxic substances is a grave social and community issue - Ali

Children turning to toxic substances is a grave social and community issue - Ali

By Alipate Narawa
Monday 10/07/2023

The serious issue of children turning to toxic substances is a grave social and community issue and if not addressed now, children will be left with destroyed lives.

Save the Children Fiji CEO, Shairana Ali highlighted this after recent concerning media reports of children eating glue on bread and drinking hand sanitizers.

Ali is calling for immediate intervention from authorities, parents, and guardians.

The CEO says parents and guardians need to understand that open communication with children under their care is crucial to keeping them aware about the dangers of inhaling harmful chemicals.

She further says they know that children may want to ingest toxic substances through peer pressure, wanting to explore their environment, and in an attempt to get high.

Ali says children exposed to toxic substances or drugs at a young age are susceptible to producing poor grades, low self-esteem, memory challenges, attention deficits, and poor social skills.

She further says Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children should be protected from abuse and neglect.

The CEO says apart from the immediate physical injuries, a child’s reaction to abuse and neglect can have lifelong and even inter-generational impacts.

She says this can also cause a variety of psychological problems, child victims can feel isolated, fear, and distrust which can translate into lifelong psychological consequences that can manifest as educational difficulties, low self-esteem, depression, and maintaining relationships.

Save the Children Fiji’s child protection awareness programs in 24 communities in the Central Division and 10 communities in the western division advocating and raising awareness of the importance of child protection.

Call the Child Helpline toll-free number 1325 available 24/7 or reach out to Save the Children Fiji on 3313178 to report any concerns with children.

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