PARENTS more concerned with making money than caring for their families have been blamed for the record number of children seeking solace in drugs. To make up for not spending enough time with the children, parents give them higher allowances. ''They are so busy they just give us money instead of love and attention,'' said one pupil, who requested anonymity. ''Some children rebel against their parents by taking drugs, they do it subconsciously to hurt them. ''I know people who sniff butane and lighter fluid, some even open lighters and drink it or put it in plastic bags to sniff. I know people who have overdosed and had to be taken to hospital.'' The student criticised the drug tests now being carried out in some schools on pupils suspected of being users. ''I hate the fact that schools expel children. Kicking them out is not the solution,'' the teenager said. ''If this happens they give up on life completely. ''Some kids take drugs on Friday and Saturday nights for a bit of fun but there is a group who are addicted and do it every day in school as well - in the toilets, on the roof and even at the back of the classroom.'' The student said children using drugs varied from those who were ''really smart and do not bother to work'' to those ''who do it to be hip and part of the in-crowd''. ''The main places for scoring are Wan Chai and Chungking Mansions. But if you are walking around aimlessly, then Tsim Sha Tsui or Lan Kwai Fong pushers come up and offer you drugs. ''I worry about my friends but there's nothing I can do, the decision has to be theirs. It's like watching someone die especially if it's the hard stuff, you watch them deteriorate. ''Parents tend to ignore mood swings in their children. They do not want their kids bringing them down. Then before long, it is too late,'' the teenager said. ''My dad leaves home really early in the morning and comes home really late at night. The only time I really see him is at weekends, he even works on Sunday. My mum works four times a week in the evenings. ''I don't know what's happened to us now, there is so much stress. Our family is having so many problems now. I am not close to my father any more or my mother for that matter. ''I think some parents feel guilty about the situation but they can't change it, work and money are more important to them.'' Another student, Emma, said the problem was the responsibility of parents and schools. ''Parents should take more of an interest in their kids, but it is something that will always be a problem,'' she said. ''And more information should be given about the harmful effects, we did not do much about drugs at school. The system [education] is partly to blame. ''There's nothing really here in Hong Kong for kids under 18 [and] you can only go to so many movies. In Europe there is more for youngsters to do. There are youth clubs, recreation centres and discos,'' Emma said. ''One of my friends stole her mother's jewellery and sold it to buy heroin. Her mum had dozens of rings and was not going to miss one until she decided to wear it. My friend took little bits at a time and was eventually caught. ''She went to rehabilitation and is okay now, I think. ''I think drugs are coming back in a big way, it is the in-thing to do and smoking is going out of fashion.''