The news cannot get worse. Findings from British experts reveal that children as young as six years are being treated for drug abuse.
Drug specialists now report seeing substance abusers aged 12 and under, suffer symptoms like paranoia, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.
AdvertisementExperts fear that the drug has a greater physical impact on young bodies than on older people. In addition, many of these little ones have turned to crime.
Says Mike Linnell, 47, from the support charity Lifeline Project: "We have treated two or three eight-year-olds in the last couple of years and one six-year-old.
"If they are using drugs at eight or nine, it is usually one of a whole range of problems in their lives.
"Around 70 per cent come to us from the criminal justice system. Many are in care. We run eight young person's services in the country and two years ago we didn't run any."
Staff at specialist young people's drug services are concerned about the greater physical impact the drug can have on young bodies.
A leading Manchester drugs charity says the youngest drug abusers have very complex problems, which include criminal behavior. This, they say needs tackling along with their addiction.
One doctor in Oldham, Greater Manchester, recounted his experience with very young cannabis users. Dr. Alan Nye began treating youngsters at the Oldham Alcohol Substance Intervention Service five years ago. Nye says that he has cared for people from the ages of 11 and 12 upwards — and in exceptional circumstances eight and nine-year-olds.
A spokeswoman for the group was quoted : "We are finding that young people are experimenting with cannabis at an earlier age."
These revelations come after the British Medical Association called for a rethink on drugs laws. Experts believe that cannabis use soared after it was downgraded and the streets are flooded with the potent form - skunk. Dr. Nye is of the strong opinion that mental health issues are related to, if not caused by, drugs such as cannabis.