Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Drug running by children in St Ann’s, Nottingham

This is Nottingham quote Allan Breeton, Director of Operations at the Nottingham Crime & Drugs Partnership, who attended a meeting to look at drug dealing by young people:

“There was talk of young children, nine and ten-year-olds, being involved in drug-running, but the meeting did not deal with named children. It was fairly generic.

“The heart of the meeting focused on three questions: What’s the problem? How big is it? What are we going to do about it?

“School representatives and others were asked to see what intelligence they could get and bring it to the next meeting.

“We want to have some evidence and not rely on anecdote.”

Filed under: drug dealing

Gangs: you and your child

you and your child

Gangs: you and your child

The Home Office’s new leaflet for parents on gangs says:

The Fantasy

Images of gangs on TV, in movies and the media tend to glorify drugs, sex and violence as an acceptable lifestyle. They don’t always show the truth about gangs and the destruction that they can cause to those in gangs, our families, friends and the communities we live in.

The Reality

Being in a gang puts your child more at risk of offending, using or dealing drugs, ending up in prison or worse – being a victim of violence and possibly an early death. The ‘respect’ they feel they are given is only an illusion.

Filed under: drug dealing

Children targeted by drug dealers


Figures showing the number of suspected child dealers arrested has soared by a third from 369 in 2006 to 507 last year

Teachers unions have warned that the actual number of children being caught with drugs in school may actually be much higher.

The unions say that many cases are dealt with internally and this could lead to them not being documented.

The Telegraph:

Figures obtained by this newspaper from 41 of the 52 British police forces show that 2,121 children under 15 have been arrested in connection with the supply of drugs in the past five years. The youngest dealer was only nine. He was caught by police in Avon and Somerset, but he was too young to be arrested.

See also the Mirror.

Filed under: drug dealing

Drug dealers as young as nine operate in the playground

The Telegraph

Figures disclosed for the first time show that hundreds of under-16s are arrested each year for dealing drugs. Many are picked up by police while in school.

The number of suspected child dealers arrested has soared by a third from 369 in 2006 to 507 last year. These figures, obtained from the police under Freedom of Information laws, show that criminal street gangs are increasingly using children to sell drugs, specialists said.

Separate figures show that more than 1,000 children are arrested every year with drugs in schools.

According to the latest annual drug use, smoking and drinking survey of pupils, 14% of drugs for the 11-15 year group are obtained in school (this figure appears to be significantly increased by the per centage of volatile substances obtained in school; 49%).

The same survey told us that 74% of drugs obtained were through friends (mostly of the same age as the respondent).

Two years ago the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in research on drug selling in local communities reported that:

The participation of young people varied across the markets, but in all, their involvement was reported to be increasing.

Filed under: drug dealing

Drug offenders ‘as young as 10’ | Bristol

The BBC:

Children as young as 10 are being drawn into the drugs trade, new figures from Avon and Somerset police have revealed.

The force said it had arrested nearly 800 youngsters up to the age of 17 for drugs offences in the past two years.

The youngest offenders, aged just 10 and 11, were taken to court for possession of cannabis.

Filed under: drug dealing

Teachers ‘find drugs and weapons’

The BBC on research carried out for the NUT:

Overall, the share of teachers who had never found drugs or weapons on pupils has grown.But one in four said they had found an offensive weapon and one in five said they had found pupils possessing drugs.

A staggering one in 10 teachers had discovered children dealing in drugs.

Others also cover the story: Channel 4 News, The Telegraph, and The Metro.

As you would expect you can download the full report from the NUT’s website.  It says:

  • Compared to 2001, teachers reported significantly more possession of drugs by pupils.  Teachers had experienced an increase in the traffic of drugs on a monthly and weekly basis, but the overall number of reports was smaller than for possession.  (Reports of possession were up from 1 per cent of teachers in 2001 to 2.2 per cent in 2008 on a weekly basis and up from 2 per cent of teachers in 2001 to 2.7 per cent in 2008 on a monthly basis).

Later on they give more detail saying:

2 per cent of all teachers (including teachers of young children and/or in rural areas) encounter possession of drugs on a daily or weekly basis, but in schools where drugs do occur, such as urban secondary schools, 11 per cent of teachers encounter them daily or weekly.

The government’s guidance for schools on drugs issues says:

It is vital that schools send a clear message to the whole school community that the possession, use or supply of illegal and other unauthorised drugs (as designated by the headteacher) within school boundaries is unacceptable. [page 51]

Supplying an illegal drug is a serious breach of school rules and it may be one of the exceptional circumstances where the headteacher judges that it is appropriate to permanently exclude a pupil, even for a one-off or first-time offence. In making this judgement the headteacher should have regard to the school’s policy on drugs and consider the precise circumstances of each case, including the nature of the incident and the evidence available. This may also include the precise nature of the supply (see section 5.1).

Where pupils are permanently excluded for supplying an illegal drug, repeated possession and/or use of an illegal drug on school premises, the Secretary of State would not normally expect the governing body or an independent appeal panel to reinstate the pupil. [page 73]

Filed under: drug dealing, school drug policy,

EADT – Children aged 13 face drug crime probe

The East Anglia Daily Times in reporting the fact that one 13 year old has been arrested (or possibly investigated) for possession (or possibly supply) of illegal drugs quote the police about the way they want to work on the issues:

“Any crime committed by a young person is of concern and we work closely with our partners to prevent and tackle youth offending.

“Police officers are attached to the Suffolk Youth Offending Service, and are involved in preventative work with young offenders and with those who are at risk of offending, to try to divert them away from a life of crime.

“We also have nine Police Education Partnership (PEP) officers who are dedicated to supporting children of school age and are involved in educating them about personal safety, drugs and alcohol, crime prevention and anti-social behaviour.

“Overall, levels of youth crime are relatively low in Suffolk, compared to other areas of the country.”

Filed under: drug dealing, drug prevention, illegal drugs, police,

Child, 10, dealing in drugs at school

The Lancashire Evening Post have a story which starkly confirms the research from the JRF, which showed that many young people are getting drugs through their peers in school:

Children as young as 10 have been found to be supplying drugs in Lancashire, with most young dealers detected in schools.

The number of under-18s in the county caught supplying drugs – including heroin, Ecstasy and amphetamines – has doubled in a year, according to figures obtained by the Evening Post.

Of the eight young people detected dealing drugs, five were caught in schools – more than twice as many as in 2005/6. The youngest dealer was a 10-year-old supplying cannabis.

The story goes on to say that 3 of the 8 who were caught dealing faced a charge, the others were cautioned.

 Further reading:

Filed under: drug dealing, ,

Over 1,000 children dealt drugs

The BBC:

Children aged 12 were among more than 1,000 young people arrested for drug dealing in London since 2004, police figures have revealed.

BBC London learned that 1,061 youths aged between 12 and 17 were held for supplying or intending to supply drugs.

The Metropolitan Police figures included three 12-year-olds arrested for dealing in Class A drugs.

A former dealer, who started selling drugs at the age of 15, said: “It was damn easy to get into.”

Looking back at our coverage of similar stories from the past I notice the last time figures came out on children as drug dealers the Daily Mail were saying there were 10 year olds who had been caught.

Then as now I’d point at the JRF research on drug dealing in communities which concludes:

Preventing young people from entering a drug market, either as sellers or runners, needs to be tackled at local level and needs to involve professionals whom young people trust and are able to communicate with. Different sorts of market will demand different sorts of response, and if those who tackle local drug markets misunderstand and oversimplify the way in which they work, the risk of failure will be high.

Filed under: drug dealing, illegal drugs,

‘Health disaster’ fear as pupils turn to cocaine

The Telegraph has an interview with Professor John Henry in the light of the publication of the Statistics on Drug Misuse report:

Drug dealers are targeting schools and a ‘worrying number’ of youngsters are trying cocaine, an expert warned yesterday.

As a result, the country is heading for a health care disaster, Prof John Henry, the UK’s leading expert on illicit drug use, told The Daily Telegraph. He predicted a dramatic rise in heart attacks, strokes and neurological problems among young people. He spoke as a new report said that almost one in five secondary school pupils in England, some as young as 11, took illegal drugs last year.

Here’s what the survey tells us about cocaine and young people.

Pupils aged 11 to 15:

  • 90% of 11 to 15 year olds had heard of cocaine, heroin and cannabis. Among those aged 11, 86% had heard of cocaine.
  • 18% of 15 year olds have ever been offered cocaine and ecstasy.
  • 18% believe it would be easy to access cocaine or crack.
  • 4% thought it was OK to try cocaine.
  • The numbers taking cocaine or crack have gone down from last year (2.4% down from 2.9%).

Young People:

  • Amongst young adults – 16 to 24 year olds – cocaine use has remained stable since 2000.
  • Cocaine is the second commonly used illegal drug with 5.9% of young adults reporting to have used it in the year prior to interview. Higher numbers of those over 20 years old (7.6%) say they have used cocaine than those between 16 and 19 (3.9%).
  • 22.3% of young people who use cocaine powder reported using the drug at least once a month. This group has been rising – from 1.9% of the overall population of young people in 200o to 3% in 2005/6.
  • Young men (7.6%) are more likely to take cocaine than young women (4.3%).
  • Those who had (0r are) excluded or truant from school are more likely to have taken cocaine (c11% vs c4%).
  • There were 231 young people (under 18) who were receiving treatment for cocaine use in 2004/05.

To add to this context the Information Centre’s report says “2.4% of adults reporting having used cocaine (either cocaine powder or crack cocaine) in the year prior to interview.”

The Telegraph don’t provide us with the evidence to support Professor Henry’s claim that schools are being targeted. However, it’s a reminder that schools need to have robust drug policies in place and to develop relationships with their local police using the ACPO guidance, Joining Forces, as a basis for that partnership.

That guidance has this to say about gathering and sharing intelligence about drug dealing in and around schools:

In the National Intelligence Model, intelligence-gathering is a separate and equally important policing activity alongside prevention and enforcement. A school community is a community like any other and it is, on occasions, quite proper to gather intelligence within it, provided this is done with the support and co-operation of the school. An intelligence-led approach includes the sharing of information between schools and police and will enable communities to be safer places to live, work and learn.

From time to time schools may request information from the police about local drug issues. In addition, it may be appropriate, as part of the National Intelligence Model tasking process, proactively to share information about emerging threats and local drug problems with schools.

They also point out that, “Matters relating to intelligence gathering or intelligence sharing should be addressed to the headteacher or deputy headteacher, or college principal, and copied to a governor with responsibility for drug issues.”

Filed under: cocaine, drug dealing, police

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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July 2021