Last month, I was assigned to KK to probe further into the glue sniffing activity among female youths in one of the largest settlement there. Among them is a young mother aged 17 who has a son aged 1 year plus.  She is married and both husband and wife are glue sniffers. I was informed by her friend that the child was conceived after they had their dose of excitement. Suffice to say, they had two doses of excitement that fateful day and nine months later, she is a mother. During our first meeting, she received phone calls from one particular person repeatedly.  By the tone of her conversation, I guessed it was from her mom who pressured her to get back home soon to take care of her son.

Her name is Wani and she started sniffing glue at a very young age. With the kind of environment she grew up in, I won’t be surprised if her son takes after her.  How is it possible for one to turn away from that vicious cycle if that act is an accepted norm in the community?  Wani’s stand doesn’t help too when she still abuses substance. The following night, we met up with them again and we specifically requested them to demonstrate how they get into the act. The location was a small playground located behind a row of shophouses. It was open. Wani had a difficult time concentrating as she used to do it in quiet spots alone. She relied on the substance to ease her tense and she does it occasionally. Which means that she is not hooked heart and soul to the substance, yet

At first I guessed she decided to turn up that night was because of the money we promised the night before (if they are willing to perform the act for us). As she is jobless and comes from a poor family, she can easily use the money for her child’s expenses. I was touched for that was the sacrifice she did for her child’s welfare. I changed my mind shortly when she asked for the extra can of glue. The reason she gave was because she wanted to enjoy it with her husband.

Now I am unsure if she ever put her child as the first priority.  Maybe I am too quick to judge but I perceive that a sensible mother will never involved in such behavior if she is serious of becoming a mom. With both parents engaging in substance abuse and do not plan to quit, I can imagine how the kid’s growing years will be like. He might be neglected, and will he ever get to school? With such rampant  illness taking place before his eyes, will he be able  stay clean?  It is not impossible, but he needs his parents to show him the right path.

Until then, I am firm with my assessment that the moment a child is born in that settlement, the odds of him turning into an addict is a good 70% – 80%.