05/03/2019: Young people warned over buying drugs via apps
Social media apps are increasingly likely to be used by young people to buy illegal drugs, research suggests. The study, from Royal Holloway, University of London, says drug users valued the convenience and speed of buying drugs via apps like Snapchat. It warns that buyers are at risk in terms of personal safety and drug quality and that many have a “false security” of escaping law enforcement.
28/02/2019: Teenage girl on being caught up in gangs and dealing drugs
Sarah (not her real name) was 12 when she and her older brother got caught up in a drug-dealing gang, after an abusive childhood. Now 14, she told BBC Radio 5 live that she sometimes walked for up to three hours at a time to sell “the tiniest bit of weed”. There are 27,000 children aged between 10 and 17 in England who identify as being part of a gang, according to a report by Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England.
14/02/2019: Family Drug and Alcohol Court National Unit secures funds to reopen
A unit working to prevent children from being taken into care by supporting their substance-misusing parents, is to reopen after a group of private backers agreed funding. The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) National Unit was forced to close in September last year, after Department for Education (DfE) funding was withdrawn.
13/02/2019: Cannabis use in teens linked to depression
Parents should not be complacent about the risks of teenagers using cannabis, experts are warning. UK and Canada researchers said they had found “robust” evidence showing using the drug in adolescence increased the risk of developing depression in adulthood by 37%. They said the findings should act as a warning to families who saw cannabis use as part of the growing-up process.
13/02/2019: Children as young as 3 are being treated in hospital after taking Spice as Britain’s synthetic drug crisis deepens
Children as young as three have been hospitalised in Lincolnshire after taking Spice – a synthetic version of cannabis which is gripping the UK. Spice is known as the zombie drug because users often appear unconscious or incoherent and since first appearing in 2013 it has spread to prisons and schools. Figures have revealed that since 2015 there has been 363 people hospitalised in Lincolnshire, with 51 involving young people aged 18 and below
13/02/2019: County lines report calls on Ofsted to prioritise inclusion
Ofsted should radically change its approach to how it assesses schools to stop vulnerable children from being lured into dealing drugs as part of the so-called county lines crisis, according to a report commissioned by the Home Office. The education watchdog’s criteria should be reviewed to encourage better “inclusion and support” as well as training for teachers, according to the report, which is due to be published on Thursday.
11/02/2019: MPs call on government to reverse cuts to protect children of alcoholics
MPs are calling for urgent funds to reduce the risk posed to the UK’s 2.6m children of alcoholic parents – as figures show drug and alcohol related hospital admissions are on the rise. Nearly 60 per cent of local authorities slashed drug and alcohol treatment budgets for adults last year – moves described as a “false economy” by a cross-party group of MPs.
05/02/2019: ‘Xanax’ linked to more than 200 deaths
At least 204 deaths have been linked to the misuse of anxiety drug Xanax in the UK since 2015, figures seen by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme reveal. Of these, there were 126 fatalities in Scotland between 2015 and 2017. Counterfeit Xanax bars with a street value of more than £1m have been seized at UK ports and airports since 2016.
30/01/2019: County lines response demands children’s safeguarding reform, experts tell select committee
Experts have warned MPs that the children’s safeguarding system needs reform in order to support young people exploited by county lines drug dealing networks. At a Home Affairs select committee session on serious violence yesterday, Simon Ford, director of the Violence and Vulnerability Unit network of community safety professionals, called for national guidance around multi-agency working on county lines to ensure social workers and health professionals “take ownership” of the situation.
28/01/2019: County lines gang boss aged just 17 ‘enslaved two 16-year-old girls and forced them to sell heroin and crack cocaine on the street
A teenage county lines drug dealer enslaved two 16-year-old girls to sell drugs, a jury heard. Din Miller, then 17, was the first juvenile in the UK to go on trial charged with modern slavery. is identity can now be revealed as he turned 18 on Saturday. He allegedly plied the girls with drugs and ordered them to sell heroin and crack cocaine – making around ten deals a night.
26/01/2019: ‘The smell of booze was part of the fabric of my childhood’: the hidden victims of alcoholism
George Clarke asked his father not to text him when he went on holiday to Valencia in September 2015; he didn’t want his father to be charged the extra fees. When Clarke, 25, landed back in the UK a week later, he headed straight to the restaurant where he worked as a waiter. His boss told him that one of his father’s neighbours had called while he was away – she was concerned about his father.
21/12/2018: ‘We weren’t set up to deal with this’: how councils have responded to county lines
It was spring 2015, recalls Trish Leivesley, now child criminal exploitation lead at North East Lincolnshire council, when something “really weird” came to her attention. A 16-year-old, little known to youth justice services, was the victim of a serious stabbing. Instead of reporting it he returned home and initially tried to conceal his injury. A week later, two more young people were stabbed, with all three incidents appearing to be linked to class-A drug dealing. Over the next few days, a number of young people considered high-risk and vulnerable by youth offending services showed up with unusual injuries that did not correlate with their explanations of fighting or falling off motorbikes.
10/12/2018: Councils receive £4.5m to support children of alcoholics
Nine councils are to share £4.5m in government funding to support children of alcoholics and dependent drinkers, the government has announced. The money, being provided through the Innovation Fund for Children of Dependent Drinkers, which is managed by Public Health England (PHE), will be used to run projects with a “new and creative approach” to supporting families affected by alcohol.
08/12/2018: Testing drugs at festivals is ‘a lifesaver’, study finds
An alarming rise in drug-related deaths at music festivals can be countered by testing illicit substances onsite, according to the first academic study of its kind, which has triggered calls for similar services to be rolled out at all major events. Testers found that one in five substances sold at the Secret Garden Party, a four-day festival in Cambridgeshire in July 2016, were not as described by dealers.
06/12/2018: Behind County Lines
Criminals are exploiting children as young as 12 to transport drugs between counties across the UK – it is known as county lines. Gangs are hiring vulnerable youngsters as part of a major push to expand their business from big cities into rural Britain – using them as mules unassuming enough to avoid suspicion and detection.
06/12/2018: Xanax: Treatment for addiction rises sharply in children
The number of children being treated for addiction to tranquilisers has doubled in a year, to more than 300, according to Public Health England. The drug Xanax, and copies of it, accounted for the sharpest rise – from eight children receiving treatment in 2016-17 to 53 in 2017-18. Ambulance services around the country have also reported a growing problem.
27/11/2018: Avoid more crime by NOT locking up children used to sell drugs by ‘county lines’ gangs, urges families minister
Vulnerable children used as drugs mules by ‘county lines’ gangs must be helped rather than locked up, the families minister has urged. Nadhim Zahawi said too many youngsters in care are getting caught up in the criminal system after being coerced by drugs gangs. In the first guidance of its kind he is urging police, social workers, teachers and the courts to spot the signs of grooming and intervene before it is too late.
26/11/2018: Childhood trauma: ‘Hundreds of babies born addicted to drugs’
Since 2015, almost 600 babies have been born in Scotland addicted to drugs, figures released through a freedom of information request have revealed. The finding will add fuel to the debate in Scottish education about the effect of “adverse childhood experiences” and how the early years of education could be changed to improve children’s lives.
20/11/2018: ‘Legal highs’: Street dealers now main source of supply after ban
The sale of so-called legal highs has gone underground after a blanket ban came into force, a report says. While the ban has led to a “considerable reduction” in use of the drugs, street dealers are now the main source of supply. Now officially known as new psychoactive substances (NPS), they mimic the effects of other drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.