Risk factors for substance use among street children entering treatment in India

Shibendu Bhattacharjee, Rajesh Kumar, Alok Agrawal, Kevin E. O'Grady, Hendrée E. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Although empirical studies have reported on substance use in children in India, multivariable statistical models examining risk factors in children seeking treatment for substance use are largely lacking. The goal of this study was to test a conceptual model predicting age of first use, duration of use of any psychoactive substance, and primary substance of choice from child and family characteristics in a sample of children entering substance use treatment. Methods: This was a single-sample cross-sectional study of 159 children entering a treatment and rehabilitation center in Delhi that provides substance use treatment and teaches children the skills to allow for their re-integration into society. De-identified data were extracted from clinical case records. Summary statistics were used to describe the sample characteristics. Regression analyses were used to examine the proposed conceptual model. Results: Child's age, schooling, and age at first crime were unrelated to age at first use of a psychoactive substance, duration of use of such substances, or choice of primary substance. However, parental and family factors served as risk factors for predicting one or more of these three outcomes. Conclusions: Findings suggest that child psychoactive substance use may have a multidimensional set of possible family and parental origins, and that child factors such as age, education, and age at first crime may play a lesser or insignificant role in a child's psychoactive substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-423
Number of pages5
JournalIndian Journal of Psychological Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Cannabis
  • India
  • opium
  • solvents
  • street children
  • substance use treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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