Addictions are typically associated with adults, but new statistics say that young children are struggling with similar demons.
Following a recent investigation by the Press Association, it has been found that primary school children are at risk of becoming addicts – particularly to drink and drugs.
Currently, a great number of children aged between 11 and 12 in Norfolk and Suffolk are getting help with their addictions via specialist drug and alcohol treatment services.
In other parts of the UK addicts have been found to be as young as four.
Experts say a common reason for children to come into contact with drugs and alcohol is through their parents, and that preventative work is key to curbing the misuse among youngsters.
Charities are now calling for improved drugs education in schools to raise greater awareness of addictions, and how drugs and other substances can be harmful to the body.
Andrew Brown, director of programmes at charity Mentor UK, which works to protect children from drug and alcohol misuse, is a strong advocate of a revised curriculum:
“We think it is vital that alcohol and drug education improve. Our own survey of teachers suggests that at the moment delivery is inconsistent, and that the norm is to timetable only one or two sessions a year.
“This may sound sufficient, but evidence would suggest that longer programmes that systematically build skills and values are much more likely to prevent young people from coming to harm than one-off lessons.”
According to figures from Public Health England, in 2012/13 some 336 children were referred for treatment for addiction – either by education providers or youth offending teams.
Findings showed that more than half of under-13s (59%) received treatment for cannabis misuse, a third were treated for alcohol misuse, and a small number for solvent abuse.
If you or someone you know is battling an addiction, you may want to consider hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can help sufferers to take control of their addiction and teaches them to replace negative habits with healthier lifestyle choices. Find out more by visiting our addictions page.
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