With some youngsters experimenting with drugs aged just eight, it’s a subject you can’t ignore.
You might think your youngster would never take drugs. But a recent national survey found that 11% of 11-year-olds have – rising to 41% by the time they’re 15.
Cannabis is still the drug most likely to be taken by children, but the number of young people trying cocaine has gone up in recent years.
Elliot Elam, spokesman for drug charity Addaction, says: “Drug-taking has certainly not become an epidemic overnight. The main problems I can see is the huge rise in disposable income for teens and that drugs are readily available to them.”
A recent report said the UK is Europe’s largest cocaine market. In 2007 there were 196 deaths linked to cocaine and it’s thought up to 25% of heart attacks in under- 30s could be due to regular cocaine use.
Elliot adds: “The way drugs are used has changed. Cocaine, for example, is used quite widely among a younger age group, while in the 80s it was for affluent young adults. Also the old image of cannabis is of people in their late teens or 20s passing a joint around at a party.
“But now we have teenagers getting out of bed, sitting in front of an Xbox all day smoking joint after joint of strong skunk. The combination of what they do – sitting alone for most of the day and the effect of the drugs is potentially very damaging.
“We see a lot of paranoid, anxious teenagers and often this will impact on the rest of their lives. Drugs don’t have to kill you or make you psychotic overnight to create devastating social problems and put terrible pressure on families.”
The odds of having taken drugs in the last year was 12 times higher among smokers in the survey. So stopping them taking up smoking or helping them quit could have a major impact.
But 55% of teens said they tried drugs just to see what they are like.
You have a huge effect on whether your child gets into drug-taking – kids in the study who said their parents wouldn’t care if they took drugs were 10 times more likely to have taken them.
Spokesman for drugs advisers Frank, Dr Ken Checinski, is an NHS consultant and senior lecturer in psychiatry at St George’s University London. He says: “Young people want good role models and many look to their parents for that. If parents use drugs at home, it can be associated with emotional and physical neglect.” Harry Shapiro, director of communications at drugs information charity DrugScope, says: “The best advice for parents is to know your kids. We always see mums and dads crying and saying ‘I didn’t have a clue until the police showed up’.
“I feel sorry for them, but they should know if their children are getting heavily involved with drugs.
“Talk to your kids and realise when a stroppy teenager goes that step further and becomes removed or secretive.”
When it comes to children taking drugs, an astonishing 72% got their first fix from a friend their own age. So, if you want to be prepared, read on for the real details you’ll need to understand and help your kids.
Know the law
If you’re found guilty of possession or supplying drugs you can get a criminal record. This can affect your university application and future job prospects – and you might not even be allowed to travel to the USA. Here are the penalties for the different drug classifications...
Class A Possessing it can lead to a prison sentence of up to seven years and an unlimited fine. Supplying (including giving it to a friend) could lead to a life sentence and/or another unlimited fine.
Class B Possession can get you up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else can get you up to 14 years and/or an unlimited fine.
Class C Possession can get you up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else, can get you 14 years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
Source - http://www.mirror.co.uk/life-style/...ng-as-eight-are-smoking-dope-115875-21497329/
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