Family breakdown, school problems turn UK kids into drug addicts

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London, Nov 18 (UNI) British children aged as young as nine-year-old are receiving treatment for addiction as stress like family breakdown and expulsion from school fuel a rise in young people resorting to drugs.

Official figures have revealed that more than 9,000 children entered treatment for drug problems in England last year.

More than half young people in residential treatment units and community action teams listed cannabis as the main drug they were abusing, The Independent reported.

However, abuse of class A drugs was also creeping into Britain's playgrounds.

According to latest figures by the Department of Health, almost 15 per cent 12-15 year-olds had tried illegal drugs.

''We are working with about 3,000 young people across the country, and the age they start coming to us is getting lower,'' said policy officer for the drug treatment charity Addaction, Clare McNeil.

Experts warned that most of the youngsters were turning to drugs in a desperate attempt to deal with problems concerning home and school that had taken a terrible toll on their lives and the stability of their families. ''We found that over half the families we help had broken down.'' .

Problems at school were emerging as a central factor. ''One of the main indicators for young people beginning to use drugs dramatically enough to warrant treatment is exclusion from school,'' she said.

Ofsted's chief inspector of education, Christine Gilbert, urged ministers to take the findings seriously. She said,'' More needs to be done to address children and young people's worries and concerns about how safe they feel, about exams and tests, and about what would help them learn better and where they need to go for help when they have a problem.'' UNI

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