20/05/2019: Teens in care ‘abandoned to crime gangs’
Thousands of teenagers in care are being “dumped” in unregulated homes and “abandoned to organised crime gangs”, the BBC has been told. The number of looked-after children aged 16 and over living in unregistered accommodation in England has increased 70% in a decade, Newsnight has found. Police forces have raised concerns, saying criminals see the premises as an easy target for recruitment.
16/05/2019: British people get drunk more often than everyone else in the world, study reveals
Britons get drunk more often than everyone else in the world, a global drug survey suggests. According to a report examining the drinking habits of 36 countries last year, Britons reported getting drunk an average of 51.1 times in a 12-month period, which accounts for almost once a week. For the survey, researchers surveyed more than 120,000 people globally of which 5,400 were from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, between 29 October and 30 December.
02/05/2019: MDMA use is more risky than we thought
We have known for some years that MDMa (Ecstasy) has regained its popularity and that the much higher strength of modern tablets creates health risks. MDMA use tends to go up in the summer with many people attending music festivals seeing Ecstasy use as an integral part of the experience. So new research from ASI (Analytic Services International), TICTAC (the drug identification and information service which has been based at St George’s Hospital London for many years) and Queen Mary University of London based on detailed testing of 650 MDMA tablets seized by the police is particularly timely.
30/04/2019: 40 school children excluded daily in England as teen drink and drugs offences rise
More children are being kicked out of school for taking and selling illegal drugs than ever before, according to figures seen exclusively by Sky News. There were 7,720 children excluded from English mainstream schools in 2016 to 2017, the most recent recorded year. This works out as 40 exclusions a day and is a 15% rise on the previous year.
23/04/2019: Biggest-ever drug prevention trial launched in schools
Pupils are to be used as “influencers” in order to discourage their classmates from taking drugs in what is said to be the UK’s biggest trial of a school-based drug-prevention programme. The three-year scheme will involve classmates nominating the most influential pupils in their schools who will then be trained to hold discussions about drug use with their peers.
31/03/2019: More adults seeking support for alcoholic parents
The number of adults seeking help to cope with an alcoholic parent has tripled over five years, according to a leading charity. The National Association for the Children of Alcoholics took more than 23,000 calls or messages last year from over 18s, compared to 6,400 in 2013. Experts say more funding to support families and friends would help more people with alcoholic parents.
25/03/2019: Children aged NINE are damaged by cannabis: Shocking toll of young patients admitted to hospital with mental disorders
Children as young as nine are being admitted to hospital with severe disorders caused by cannabis, figures reveal. More than 3,400 patients under the age of 19 were admitted last year because of mental and behavioural illnesses triggered by the drug. Doctors are seeing a ‘whole new generation’ with serious problems, who are increasingly buying cannabis via social media websites.
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.