Troubling Trend in Drug Use Among Young Children in Scotland

A story from The Scotsman newspaper in Scotland reports that a new study from the Scottish Drug Misuse Database paints a grim picture of life as a drug addict in Scotland. Particularly disturbing was a growing trend of drug use in young children under the age of 14.

According to the report, 41 percent of new users of drugs in Scotland began using those drugs while under the age of 15, and 45 percent were below the age of 19.

The database also showed that almost 12,000 new abusers ask for help from agencies, charities, and healthcare professionals during 2008 and 2009.

The most common drugs abused by those people were heroin, diazepam, and marrijuana. Many also reported using cocaine or crack cocaine.

The data also show strong correlations between drug use and unemployment, with 71 percent of drug abusers reporting being out of work. Sixty eight percent relied on benefits.

Around a quarter of the drug users reported that they committed crimes to fund their drug habit.

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said: “This shows just how deep drugs abuse has become in too many parts of our society. Too many children are exposed to dependency.”

The latest figures also show a 131 per cent increase in drug-related deaths over the ten-year period to 2008.

The Scottish Government is investing a record 28.6 million pounds in addiction treatment services.

Graeme Pearson, the former director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, remarked on the rise in drug use by younger children, “Their first involvement is likely to occur as early as primary school but most often in first or second year secondary, their drug use developing usually from a habit of the illicit drinking of alcohol with school friends. Accessing of drugs builds from that background of irresponsible risk taking in public areas such as parks, isolated school play areas and the likes. “