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Thursday 27th October 2016

Class A drug use in children

24th December 2009

New figures from the NHS have shown a sharp rise in the number of children being treated for cocaine addiction.

The rise has been blamed on a “glamorous” image that is often associated with the drug’s use.

The statistics reveal that over the last year some 745 people aged under 18 – including 15 under 12 years old - sought help from the National Treatment Agency (NTA) after abusing the Class A drug.

This compared with 453 in 2005/06.

Overall, just over 24,000 under 18s needed addiction treatment for misusing illegal drugs and alcohol last year, 150 more than the total three years ago.

However, the number of crack and heroin users under the age of 18 who were treated by the agency fell to 657 from 1,081 four years ago.

The charity Drugscope said that a shift in use away from heroin and crack towards cocaine reflected a general trend among all age groups.

Spokesman Harry Shapiro said: “If young people are in a particularly risky or dysfunctional environment, alcohol or cannabis abuse is going to be more likely, and that makes them more likely to try other drugs.”

The NTA said the figures did suggest that the heroin epidemic had peaked.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “There is a real problem with young people receiving mixed messages because of the alleged glamour associated with drugs such as cocaine.

“We need to get the message across about the dangers of experimenting with a massively addictive drug such as cocaine.”


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