I don't know much about Scotland really, but this seems like a disturbing trend. I know that there were lots of problems back in the 70s and such with crime and rampant drug use but I thought it was much better now.
I can't think of ANY recreationally used drug I would give to an 11 year old, and heroin would probably be one of the last ones. The fact that kids younger than 10 are getting into trouble with drugs seems to point to societal problems and a lack of drug education (US DARE propaganda would probably not help things).
Anyone from Scotland who can report on the situation with drugs there?
Under-tens abusing drink and drugs
CHILDREN as young as eight are being referred to the children's reporter with drink and drug problems, figures have revealed for the first time.
Referrals are made if social workers, the police or school teachers are sufficiently worried, about the welfare of individuals. The number of children 16 and under coming before a hearing because of alcohol or narcotic abuse fell from 219 in 2003-4 to 160 the following year.
But the figures for 2004-5 revealed a worrying rise in very young children with drink and drug problems, with a small number of children under ten being referred to the panel, compared with none the previous year.
This is the first time details from the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration have been presented in a format that reveals just how young those appearing before the panel because of such problems are.
To protect identities, the exact number has not been revealed, but the new report shows up to eight children aged eight and nine were referred with drink or drug problems last year.
Experts said the figures reflected a growing trend in Scotland, with children coming into contact with drink and drugs at a much younger age, and called for earlier treatment.
Executive figures show the number of children under 16 receiving treatment for drug misuse has quadrupled during the past seven years to 418 last year, including an 11-year-old girl who collapsed in a Glasgow school this year after taking heroin.
Tom Wood, chairman of the Action on Alcohol and Drugs Team in Edinburgh, said: "I am in no doubt that there is an increase in underage drinking over the last 20 or 30 years because of the increasing availability of alcohol."
However, he said much of the rise is a result of agencies picking up on problems earlier, after learning from tragedies. "Agencies like the police, social work, schools and hospitals, have become much more conscious of the safety of young people," Mr Wood said.
"We have had a number of disastrous cases in Scotland where children have died or been seriously injured and, therefore, more cases are likely to be reported to the Children's Panel."
Professor Neil McKeganey, of the drugs misuse research centre at Glasgow University, said children often start drinking alcohol and smoking at an early age and this is leading to earlier illegal drug use.
"Whereas in the past children may have started using illegal drugs in their teens, what we are seeing now is children exposed to drugs use at a much earlier age and, as a result, getting into trouble at an earlier age."
He called for improved services, and said it was important to identify children at greatest risk of substance abuse before their teens "because it is very likely they will go on to experience longer-term problems".
Margaret Mitchell, the justice spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives, described the figures as "alarming". She added: "This indicates that Know the Score [the Executive's awareness campaign to address drug use among the young] is not enough and not enough is being done on rehabilitation or looking at the drink problem."
However, the Executive pointed out that a number of measures were in place, including a guide for parents to help them talk to their children about the dangers of alcohol.
A spokesman said: "Clearly, changes in behaviour cannot be achieved