Our qualitative study explored: the perceptions of street children indulging in whitener fluid misuse; the social, economic, and cultural determinants of use; and users' views regarding effective preventive and control strategies. Forty-five in-depth interviews and three focus group discussions were conducted between March and December 2003. A purposive sample of those working children who were using toluene was selected by Snowball sampling. The paper discusses the: determinants of initiation and continued use; drug user social networks; psycho emotional deprivation and frustrations of these children; socio-cultural aspects like work driven need; others' attitudinal response towards them and their work; parental support or the lack of it; and strategies for prevention of this misuse.
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