The variety of kids being handled for habit to tranquilisers has doubled in a yr, to greater than 300, in keeping with Public Well being England.
The drug Xanax, and copies of it, accounted for the sharpest rise – from eight kids receiving remedy in 2016-17 to 53 in 2017-18.
Ambulance providers across the nation are additionally reporting a rising drawback.
In 2017-18, 15,583 kids had assist for substance misuse, 5% fewer than the earlier yr, 88% for hashish.
Xanax is the model identify for the drug alprazolam, a benzodiazepine prescribed for nervousness or panic assaults. However most of the capsules taken by kids are copies purchased on-line, with no indication of their energy or whether or not they have been adulterated.
What are the results of benzodiazepines?
UK Habit Remedy group psychiatrist Dr Durrani says: “Benzos work by actually slowing down the features of the mind, appearing as a leveller in occasions of excessive stress, over-excitement or nervousness.
“Severe side-effects can happen, together with slurring phrases and even whole blackouts.
“We’re seeing increasingly more individuals admitting themselves after turning into hooked on benzos.
“Typically, their misuse stemmed from utilizing the drug recreationally at events and mixing it with alcohol, which proves a poisonous mixture.”
What do the ambulance providers say?
The North East Ambulance Service, which supplied essentially the most complete particulars to a BBC Freedom of Data request despatched to 6 ambulance providers, mentioned that in 2017 it had attended 240 callouts for Xanax abuse by children, two of which had been for 11-year-olds.
What about Public Well being England?
Medication, alcohol and tobacco director Rosanna O’Connor says: “Regardless of fewer under-18s asking for assist with drug and alcohol issues, it stays a big subject and the newest knowledge exhibits an growing variety of younger individuals needing remedy for benzodiazepines.
“Nevertheless, there’s restricted proof and knowledge for these medication, so we would not have a transparent image of modifications in use.
“Benzodiazepines are dangerous when taken with out medical supervision and mixing them with alcohol or different medication will increase the danger of hurt, notably when combined with different sedatives.”
What about different addictions?
The PHE report additionally says:
- the variety of kids receiving remedy for ecstasy habit rose by 18% over the identical interval
- 46% of the 15,583 kids being handled for substance misuse are being helped with alcohol points